The last Danny Boyle film I had seen was 28 Days
Later, sans the follow ups. The present Blu-Ray presentation of
the film which won eight Oscar is really something. The lush colours
and fast visuals are thrilling, as is the lossless 5.1 DTS-HD Master
Audio. I have subsequently found that the film was shot on a
combination of film stock and video, explaining some of the visual
disparity others have been talking about.
The movie is a long-spanning love-despite-despair
story involving Jamal Malik (Dev Patel, of Skins fame), his
brother and a girl from their childhood. The story-telling technique
is a series of Who wants to be a millionaire? questions which
couch his recollections of the tough quest to exist through poverty
and its brutality.
The gruesome underworld is a tempting way to survive
but its seduction can be deadly. The structure of Slumdog
provides great flexibility, as well as a stunning panorama of the
subcontinent, Taj Mahal included. I don’t like giving away any more
about the story.
One quandary was the “subtitles”: they’re not the
discrete lines of text neatly tucked at the bottom of the screen.
They float left, right, up, down around the speakers, even changing
colour depending on who is speaking. I am not sure why this is the
case, nor if it is only a disc “feature”. Were it also to appear on
the cinematic release, I daresay it was an attempt to appear
audiences who famously shy away from material not in English. I
personally found annoying and distracting but it does slide nicely
into Boyle’s fast-paced imagery.
There quite a few features: commentary by Boyle and
Patel and by writer Simon Beaufoy; deleted scenes; “Slumdog Dreams”,
a making-of; and the curious Jai Ho Remix—Slumdog Cutdown, which is
a condensed version of the film, comic-book style.
The ubiquity of Millionaire, in Australia
embodied by Eddie Everywhere, means the film is familiar to
everyone. Yet there are some very distancing, even very arresting
scenes, right from get-go. There is constant oscillation between
cruelty and levity, between harshness and tenderness: we would
expect nothing less from a land as vast as India.
I found the film interesting and beautiful, with some
really great moments. I also thought it a tad too long though and am
quite baffled by the number of Academy Awards it did end up scoring.
Such, however, is the mystery of personal taste.
Commentary by director Danny Boyle and
actor Dev Patel
Commentary by writer Simon Beaufoy and
producer Christian Colson
View PIP - Slumdog Guru
Dreams - Danny Boyle and the making of
- Jai Ho
Remix - Slumdog Cutdown (HD)
Script to Screen - the toilet scene
short film - Manjha
Theatrical trailer (HD)