Sunday, May 17, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire - with SPOILERS

Curmudgeony "just gotta disagree" movie review

I've been putting off seeing this, even though it won all those awards including the Oscar for Best Picture, because the trailer made it look like one of those pictures that gratuitously play on your hopes that the underdog good guys will win the big prize - and then they do - and then everybody is happy, end of story.

First of all, I liked the way they told the story about how the guy came to know all the answers, and how they used that to construct the whole plot. Very nice. I guess the part I didn't like was the ending itself - because it DID end up being one of those "underdogs win in spite of impossible odds" movies. (I'm not saying I don't like any of those, I love Star Wars Episode IV - A New Hope, for example.) In this case, it seems like the message the movie delivers is "All You Need is Money," or "First, Get Some Money and It Will Solve Everything." That message just leaves me feeling cold, just the opposite of the warm and fuzzy that was no doubt intended.

The woman (who is kept as a mistress/slave by a rich man) will not go to him while he is poor, asking "what will we live on?", even though he, the romantic, wants them to live on love.

He does win the big prize, and is joined by the woman, and their worries are over. There is a wonderful choreographed street dance (which is enjoyable, as is all the music in the movie), but I feel that we are actually robbed of the real ending. OK, having the money and the woman is great, but aren't there any loose ends? How do they spend the money? What about all of those people (including sooo many children) who are still living they way that they grew up, and have no hope whatsoever? Do they help them? Or not? Ironically, the young actors who starred in the movie, in spite of getting some financial benefit, are still living in the conditions depicted in the movie. One of them recently had his shack demolished after his family was run out of it by authorities threatening to beat them with canes. These are the living conditions that the movie is about, and being as it was sooo highly touted as a thing of wonder, I would have liked a better end to the story. There are loose ends, there are raw nerves, there is unfinished business. I want to see those things (and I don't mean in a sequel).

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