slumdog millionaire... wow.

Whooo. I just got back from watching Slumdog Millionaire. Holy moly. I was really looking forward to seeing it, and I wasn't let down. I'm actually a little stunned. It's an exhilarating, astonishingly well-made film that yanks you by the shirt collar from the opening shot, breaks out into a sprint and just doesn't let up. It's an absolute blast.

The movie, directed by Danny Boyle and co-directed by Loveleen Tandan, is kind of a frenetic, urban fairy tale set in modern-day Mumbai. Dev Patel stars as Jamal, a street kid who impossibly becomes a contestant on the Hindi version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? to reunite with his lost love Latika, who is an ardent fan of the show.

When he somehow manages to win big, Jamal is arrested and accused of cheating. How exactly does an illiterate kid from the slums know all the answers? The story unfolds in a series of flashbacks, with each chapter revealing the key to the answer to the game show questions.

Pretty freaking brilliant. It's also a crowd-pleaser, and with any luck, it'll find its audience. It's one of those films that completely sucks you in and stays with you, somehow managing to enchant, horrify and stun you all at once. I'm actually writing this now because I'm kind of having trouble falling asleep. I've got Slumdog on the brain.

The movie opened in major cities last week, doing quite well at the box office in limited release. It expands to more cities this weekend. Critical response has been awesome too, with the movie currently rocking a 91% rating over at Rotten Tomatoes. Audiences have apparently also been quite receptive to Slumdog's beautiful co-star: Meet Freida Pinto.

Make no mistake, Slumdog Millionaire is a fantasy. As gritty and street-level as it tries to go, on a lot of levels, it's simply inauthentic. Many will likely object to its depiction of poverty in India. And as much of a fan I am of Danny Boyle, in the end, the movie is still an Indian story largely told through a western filter. That said, I can't deny how much I enjoyed it. It's a hell of a movie. Oh, by the way, I recommend staying for the closing credits.

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