Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

16 December 2008

Slumdog / Narnia

Danny Boyle's Slumdog Millionaire is everything you've been hearing (I assume you've been hearing about it; even my father is talking about it and he's never heard of Danny Boyle and I'd wager never saw 28 Days Later...)

The movie follows a young slumdog, an extremely poor orphan named Jamal, who, along with his brother, has scraped out a life in the streets of Mumbai. Jamal, while he is very young, falls in love with a young girl named Latika, who is also a poor orphan. They are separated by an evil mob boss and by many other circumstances.

Slumdog Millionaire follows the story of Jamal as he is about to win 20 million rupees on the Hindi version of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire." The movie then flashes back to explain how it came to be that our boy Jamal knows the answers to all of these difficult questions.

The film is about fate and the convergence of circumstances. It's a fairy tale, of course, but is also about the universe and hope and working as hard as you can to get what you want. It's beautifully shot--in typical, gorgeous, Danny Boyle style--and edited at a fast pace. Slumdog Millionaire is sweeping, romantic, occasionally heartbreaking, and always fun. This is a must-see picture and seems to be getting enough good buzz that it will be getting an Oscar nomination (in the Juno/Little Miss Sunshine/Chocolat slot.)

I also made time for Andrew Adamson's Chronicles of Narnia sequel: Prince Caspian which I expected to like, but which left me a little cold. It's a weird little movie, actually: far too many protagonists for any coherence (at least The Lord of the Rings always had Frodo...); complicated and ill-explained exposition; weird narrative structure; anti-climactic ending. It's not a bad movie, really, but it doesn't really cohere very well. I imagine that the next one will be a little better: if I remember correctly, the plot is a little more linear and there are fewer focal characters.

More movies to come. I am in Los Angeles, now, and trying to see as many as I can