Monday, Nov. 03, 2008

Slumdog Millionaire

Who wants to be a millionaire? Not 18-year-old Jamal, though he'd like enough to live on, since he's been scrambling to survive since he and his brother Salim were brutally orphaned as children. But he's gone on a nationwide quiz show hoping that his brief celebrity will catch the attention of the ravishing, unlucky Latika, whom he's loved for most of his life. Simon Beaufoy's script tells the three lives in flashbacks that illuminate India's dynamic and troubled history over the past 15 years (though not, obviously, of the last few weeks). As gaudy wealth and abasing poverty coexist in Mumbai, so Danny Boyle's movie catches the contradictions of slum drama, love story, social document and Bollywood musical in its capacious embrace. With its nonstop pace and fearless dives into affairs of the heart, Slumdog Millionaire is a dervish delight.