Without taking a breath, Danny Boyle shoots backwards and forwards in time for this romantic story about an Indian Oliver Twist who, as an uneducated adult still looking for his childhood sweetheart, wins millions of rupees in a popular TV quiz. With music by M.I.A.
The director of Trainspotting (1996) is right back on form with this smoothly designed film about Jamal Malik, an uneducated Indian from the slums who becomes a national hero by winning millions of rupees in a TV quiz. ‘From rags to raja,’ according to the quizmaster with a superior grin. How did he do it? The film offers four options: he cheated, he was lucky, he’s a genius, it’s fate. The police are suspicious, and in between the two days in which the live broadcast takes place, Ja is subjected to a hard handed interrogation. In order to explain the right answers to the quiz questions, he describes to the officer his childhood, which we see passing in flashbacks.
As a child, Jamal was inseparable from his brother Salim in a huge violent slum district. Gradually the two brothers start to vie for attention as they grow up, fed by a shared and continual interest in beautiful Latika.
Boyle edited the two periods together beautifully and plays with tilted frames, depth of focus, close-ups and moving camera, thanks to cameraman Anthony Dod Mantle (Festen, 1998). The scenario refers regularly to Oliver Twist and is by Simon Beaufoy (The Full Monty, 1997), based on Vikas Swarup’s novel Q&A. The soundtrack is an encounter between East and West with songs by the English-Sri Lankan artist M.I.A. (Paper Planes) and a soundtrack by Bollywood master A.R. Rahman. –IFFR
With an eclectic array of films to his credit, director Danny Boyle emerged from his native England to become one of the most celebrated and revered filmmakers of independently-minded cinema. Ever since his emergence onto the world stages with “Trainspotting” (1996), his stark, but viciously funny look at a group of heroin-addicted friends living in Edinburgh, Boyle managed to chart his own unique path without having to bow to studio pressures. Though he dipped his toe into Hollywood waters with his underwhelming adaptation of “The Beach” (2000), Boyle nonetheless created frenzied and highly-stylized films that also depicted three-dimensional characters often struggling with human vices and weakness. With his luminously praised horror film, “28 Days Later” (2003), and his surprisingly soft-hearted children’s fantasy, “Millions” (2005), Boyle proved adept at shifting genres without losing the voice he established in his previous efforts, making him one of the most talented and eagerly… read more
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