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Slumdog Millionaire

April 25, 2009


I imagine the pitch coming across Danny Boyle’s desk: The Tourism Bureau of India invites you to film a movie in our country for the advancement of tourism to our developing nation. For the sum of _billion rupees, we propose to commission you to do for us what you did for heroin with Trainspotting. Do what you want for a story, we don’t particularly care. Just make us look damn sexy.

Danny Boyle, you have earned your money. Begging street urchins and extreme poverty never looked so unthreatening and, well, beautiful. And the Taj Mahal money shot was a real winner. Sure, it’s a rough and tumble culture, but none of that is actually real, because in this world evil thugs suddenly have convenient and unexplained changes of heart and die in a shootout, lying in a bathtub full of money to protect two other characters you barely even care about.

Slumdog clearly deserved the Oscar, because it fit so perfectly the archetypal Best Picture mold. It pantomimes depth without actually leaving the surface, it favors cheap emotion-tugging tactics over story and character  development. I’d put it in the same category as Titanic.

Oh, and that dance scene at the end would appear pathetic to anyone who had ever seen a real Bollywood film – what were they thinking?


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