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Rated R (MPAA) · 120 min. · 2008
If 2008 were a better movie year, it would be interesting to see how much more muted the praise would be for the just-alright Slumdog Millionaire. The latest not-quite-endorsable Danny Boyle project (I preferred his at least visually magnificent Sunshine to this) is best when it's not distracted by its flashback structure, giving the slum-life kids' fairytale its immediacy. Boyle ends Slumdog Millionaire with such dramatic satisfaction that it can easily leave a positive feeling around the whole thing. But that structure nearly kills it, and is used to articulate Boyle's patronizing message. Boyle starts with Mumbai street kid Jamal (played in the more contemporary scenes by Dev Patel) being investigated when Who Wants to be A Millionaire? officials don't believe someone of his background could go on to win 10 million rupees. It goes like this: Jamal is asked a question by the smarmy host, and then we see the life experience that led him to correctly answer the question he was conveniently asked. And then this happens with every question. Thank you Danny Boyle for teaching my ignorant white ass that there's such thing as street knowledge. (MP)
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Official Site: www.foxsearchlight.com/slumdogmillionaire
Director: Danny Boyle
Writer: Simon Beaufoy
Producer: Christian Colson
Cast: Dev Patel, Madhur Mittal, Freida Pinto, Anil Kapoor and Irrfan Khan

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