Massachusetts Daily Collegian

I must disagree with Shayna, it happens

By kevinkoczwara

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Shayna Murphy reviewed Danny Boyle’s new film Slumdog Millionaire” earlier this week. And I must disagree with her “B” rating. Now I know our rating system is flawed (which one isn’t?) and it is completely subjective. But I must give Boyle’s new film an “A” on our rector scale.

The film breaks so many conventions of the common love story. Yes, all the cliches are there. But what Boyle does with them is what separates this film apart from others in recent years. He uses the conventions as a back-drop for the slums of India and the story of a man in search of love, while trying to survive the dangers of being a homeless boy walking the streets of the city of Mumbai.

He must survive gangsters, his own brother, tourists, police and rioters. Jamal Malik makes it out alive. He makes it out with only minor scars, until his love Latika is introduced.

When Latika comes into the story, being introduced as the unknown “Third Musketeer,” the movie moves from survival to love and what humans will go through to live life with another person.

The movie moves its narrative through the Indian version of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire.” Jamal grinds his way through the questions to the grand prize of 20 million Rupees. The scummy host cannot believe that a “slumdog” is answering the questions, and not cheating.

He in turn has Jamal tortured after a taping of the show to find his own answers.

Jamal has a simple answer for his torturers: he lived all the questions and answers. That is the narrative. Simple. We jump back and forth from game show to life.

But what Boyle does with the narrative is genuine. He uses the camera as another story-teller, never using it as another fly on the way. The chase sequences are marvelous. Like in “28 Days Later” and other Boyle films, he uses shadows, close-ups, light and pitch-perfect music to score the chases making them more alive than a real chase.

What Boyle does to convey the heat and the cramped spaces of Mumbia and the slums of India i highlighting yellow and white through filters. Making the colors more permanent, giving the eyes something to focus on and feel.

The use of subtitles is one special thing that Boyle does in the film. He gives a new look into how we see a foreign film, and how we read subtitles. The few subtitles used are never placed off the screen, but rather they are in the picture, placed gently inside open space in each shot. This stylization doesn’t allow the viewer to ever look away from the action. It is a small thing to rave about, but it does enhance the film’s experience.

Go see “Slumdog Millionaire.” December 12 at Amherst Cinema. And check out Ty Burr’s Review. Here is a Q & A with the star Dev Patel. And another with Mr. Boyle himself.


4 Responses to “I must disagree with Shayna, it happens”

  1. Shayna_Murphy on December 8th, 2008 10:38 am

    ouch. burned in the title and everything.



  2. Kevin Koczwara on December 8th, 2008 2:07 pm

    I’m sorry Shayna.
    It works best to do it that way.
    You burn me all the time.
    But it is my opinion, this still needs editing, I wrote it before our section meeting.


  3. Shayna_Murphy on December 8th, 2008 6:18 pm

    i think it’s good, though. you make mention of some things i totally spaced on, like the way boyle used the camera, letting it dart around and follow the action naturally.


  4. newenglandnoir on December 13th, 2008 2:19 pm

    Can’t wait to see this.


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