Wassup Rockers



I’m not sure if my comments would have been different if I’d seen it before all those terrorists attacks in Bombay.  Mumbai.  Bombay.  Shit, I dunno, I just think Bombay sounds better.  I couldn’t stop thinking about the attacks while I watched the movie, mainly because this movie is the story of a Muslim boy and you just see everyone with a fucking TV in India just cheering him on, and you’re like, “Oh my god, it’s just like Obama on election night, this kid is mofuckin’ unifying the whole country all by his lonesome.”  There was something quite bittersweet about watching this movie and having a good time.

Anyway, I think I love Dev Patel and I’m glad I’ve seen him in something other than Skins cos, although I think it’s a great show, his character in the show wasn’t developed as well as the others.  Had so much potential, but it was wasted.  He was pretty good in the movie, especially the parts when he’s on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire and he looks fucking petrified.

Also, Irfan Khan!  I love him!  He’s so wonderful and I’m glad he’s getting more visibility outside of India.  He’s like that uncle every Indian kid has, he’s not necessarily the coolest uncle, but you know you can rely on him.  He’s like, so full of wisdom and love and you just wish he’d hug you forever.

I don’t know what to think about the way the movie treated the brother’s story.  That’s what you don’t hear about in the commercials: that this is as much a story about two brothers, as it is a story between a boy and a girl who are ~*SO TOTALLY IN LOVE*~.  And so Dev Patel’s character, Jamal, is the central figure in the movie, but Jamal has this unforgettable brother named Salim.  The two brothers rely on each other so much and they experience much of their childhood just having each other to survive, and you have to wonder why Jamal is inherently good, in the purest sense, and then Salim is… a little more crooked.  I wish they’d spent more time on Salim, but it would take a whole ‘nother movie about Salim to really begin to understand him.  Even as a small child Salim is pegged as a tragic figure, which made his narrative arc fucking gripping, where you reach his final scenes and you’re like, “THAT’S WHAT HONOR LOOKS LIKE.”  Okay, is that too much info?  I’m sorry.

It was so cool to see so much of Bombay–or Mumbai, oy!–and it reminded me of all the city-specific movies I fucking love, from Amores perros to Cidade de Deus to Taxi Driver to La haine.  (If you can’t tell, I fucking love urban movies!  Even if La haine is more about the suburbs.)  And this movie differs from the others because it holds so much hope and love in its heart, surprisingly so.

I do wonder how Danny Boyle’s interpretation of this city is perceived by those who know the city.  I felt like his portrayal was okay, that he was respectful and not patronizing, but who knows?  I didn’t have much of a problem with it because I thought whatever horrible things happened in the movie are specific to the story, and not meant to represent the average Indian life.  That’s the thing about stories: they have to be more than ordinary, or else there’s no reason to tell them.

There’s something very picaresque about the brothers’ journey.  The “pícaro” is usually that of a street smart kid who has to rely on his wit and cleverness to get ahead, but one thing I’ve noticed in the picaresque stories I’ve read is also the amount of violence and humiliation that these pícaros receive in their youths.  So I was really struck by how much violence was presented in this movie, too, to the point it made me shudder.  In that sense, the movie was truly tragicomic to me.

Another thing that made me shudder was the use of “Paper Planes.”  I’m so used to hearing it as such a light song, so I was kinda glad to see it used against a montage of the brothers just doing what they could to survive, I was glad to see it used in a more serious manner instead of having the song play against some stupid video about making sandwiches while wearing neon clothes or some such.  Not to sound like a jackass or naught.

So here’s my endorsement for Slumdog Millionaire.  It’s fun(ny), brutal, heartfelt, and pretty well-paced, in my opinion.  Oh, if you watch the movie, stay through the credits.  It’s so wonderful and it makes you so giddy.  At least it made me really giddy.

I really liked the ending of this movie, especially because I got the last question on Millionaire correctly.

Note to self: must find all the songs from the movie.  Do you think MIA + AR Rahman are gonna get nominated for an Oscar?  I mean when I heard their song in the movie I didn’t think that MIA was that awesome, but come on, AR Rahman is fucking badass.  Somebody get an Oscar campaign going, stat!


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