Well, now I know what all the hype is about.
Lyn and I saw SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE this afternoon. Seeing it brought back so many memories of being in India in 2003. I could almost smell curry (and other stuff!) as I watched the story unfold.
It was a fascinating plot, pieced together like a child's pop-bead neckace. It was brilliantly based upon the protagonist's coincidentally correct answers to questions on India's version of "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?" The story was brilliantly directed by Danny Boyle, who also directed the edgy 1996 TRAINSPOTTING.
I loved Boyle's attention to little details and the skill he applied to building tension in his storytelling. Lyn actually gasped at the sound of a coke bottle opening! (The way it was set up, you felt like someone was pulling a murderous knife from a scabbard.)
More than anything else, SM is a love story. The beautiful actors portraying the "fated" lovers are Dev Patel (Jamal Malik) and Freida Pinto (Latika). Although they didn't really occupy the screen together very much, when they did it was really enchanting. Back in the day, they used to call that "chemistry."
The movie is full of grit and grime, photographed in a way that is achingly beautiful. The musical score by A.R. Rahman is simultaneously haunting and exciting. The children are angelic (although barefoot and smudged). The action is riveting. The violence is visceral. The romance is heartbreaking. The ending is everything you want a movie to be, even though it's wildly manipulated.
So which film is going to win? Who knows. My personal preference would probably be THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON, but SLUMDOG could easily take home the gold. All five of this year's nominees are worthy contendors, each having its own list of strengths.
Oscar night is going to be VERY interesting!