Ten Oscar Nominations have been given to Danny Boyle’s film “Slumdog Millionaire.”  The adventurous tale of rags to riches is set in India and takes place over nearly two decades.
The Hindi canvas masks the film as complicated and foreign, however, Slumdog is quite simple and familiar in its approach to storytelling.  The main character, Jamal Malik is suspected of cheating on a Hindi version of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire.”  To prove his innocence he retells moments in his life which helped him to answer questions that a kid from the slums would not normally know.  We follow Jamal from the beginning of his life in the slums of Mumbai.  After tragedy strikes and Malik loses his home, Jamal, his brother, and a young girl named Latika are rescued by a pimp of street singing kids.  Soon after arriving at the orphanage for street singers, Jamal’s bother Salim realizes they need to escape but Latika is left behind in the process leaving Jamal devastated.  We follow the brothers as they try to survive at various places using their wits while ripping off tourists and at each turn we are shown how Jamal knows the answers for the show.  The story culminates as Jamal tries to complete the quiz show and find his lost love, Latika.
The film is visually reminiscent of Fernando Meirelles’ “City of God” both in its scenery and its cinematography.  The two films share Oscar nominations in four of the same categories.  The cinematography in “Slumdog Millionaire” deserves its nomination and has an outside chance to edge out front-runners “The Dark Knight” and “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.”  Hopefully for Danny Boyle, his film will not be shut out like “City of God” was in 2004.  Five out  of Slumdog’s ten award nominations are musically related with nominations in sound editing, sound mixing, original score, and two nominations for original song.  The latter of which is only rivaled by one other song from “WALL-E.”  Danny Boyle and his crew have got to like those odds.  The music and sound effects truly bring the film alive and immerse the audience in Jamal’s tumultuous world.
I have seen a lot of debate online about the overall quality of this film.  Some people are stunned that it won Best Picture at the Golden Globes.  Others have praised the film as a masterpiece and rags to riches gem of cinema.  Personally I feel that the movie is deserving of a lot of its nominations and praise due to the lack of strong competition.  Don’t get me wrong, there were a lot of great movies in 2008, but few excellent films and possibly not a single masterpiece whereas 2007 brought a couple.  Slumdog Millionaire is a great film in which the the lack of solid acting and writing hold the film a short ways away from the masterpiece arena.  “Slumdog Millionaire” is a triumph of music and cinematography and its story of love and faith in humankind will stick with you.