Viewed – 27 June 2009 Blu-ray
This is the big one. The film everyone has been talking about. I must admit though that even after all the hype surrounding it’s stunning victory at this years Academy Awards, the subject matter didn’t hit me with that ‘must see’ vibe. This follows the story of a young kid (Dev Patel) from the impoverished slums of India who has somehow found himself on the country’s version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, well on his way to winning the jackpot. Now what surprised me was the fact that this isn’t just a rags-to-riches cliche of a story where at first we watch said slums upbringing, leading to that fateful appearance on the show. But infact, the kid is already on the show and the film flashes back, bit by bit to how he got there, carefully drip-feeding the viewer information and back story – much more satisfying.
This is powerful, gritty and fascinating, part real-world expose, part love story, part thriller, and with a feel good ending that is built up to perfectly. Danny Boyles direction here never misses a beat, is intelligent and stylish but never looses the realism under such admittedly eye-catching production values. This is a beautifully filmed and edited movie, with some excellent choices of music and stunning Indian locales, both heart breaking and awe-inspiring. Dev Patel’s performance is assured, steely-eyed and confident, but very subtle at the same time, with actors playing younger versions of him handling the more intense moments. So then, this is a gripping and thought-provoking film made with care and a very professional eye, making it one Oscar winner worthy of the title.
Additionally, for anyone wondering about the Blu-ray, this is definitely one of the best pictures I have yet seen, with a strong soundtrack to accompany it, making it a guaranteed poster-boy for the format.
Verdict: 4 /5