We went to see Danny Boyle’s new movie the day before yesterday, but the show was sold out (except for a couple of single seats), so we skipped it, vowing to try again on Monday. This time we made it in to see Slumdog Millionaire and we’re sorry.
Not that it was all bad. If you really must see Slumdog, skip the first two hundred minutes and watch only the final ten. During the credits, the entire cast does a peppy little Indian musical sort of dance. You can enjoy that happy number without having to endure the preceeding scenes of torture (Jamal, our hero, is zapped with electricity while hung from the ceiling), or people set on fire. You can even miss the scene where young Jamal dives through an outhouse floor into an over-his-head pit of excrement. He runs around entirely covered in human waste –a condition that becomes useful to him when he needs to force his way to the front of a crowd to obtain a film star’s autograph. Comedy.
Jamal, a Mombai slum kid, is being tortured because he is so close to winning the jackpot on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. That’s how TV producers in India manage contestants. During his rough police interrogation, we learn about each of the awful, dreadful events in his dreadful, awful life that just happen to have supplied him with the answers he needs for the quiz show. For example, he guesses the answer to the question “Who invented the revolver?” because once his brother, Salim, said, “This revolver is a Colt,” just before blowing a guy’s brains out.
We’re going to have to rescind three of the probationary stars we assigned to Slumdog on Saturday. Now all it gets is this one, lousy little star: ★ The dance is cute.