Looking back I see it is 2 years to the day since I last wrote about going to the cinema and seeing a really good film ( Dreamgirls – http://nickhay.blog-city.com/dreamgirls.htm ). Now while part of this is down to going less often, it is also true that virtually every new film I have seen within that period has been a disappointment, ranging from the average to the bad. So it was good to be reminded of just how good an experience movie-going can be by Slumdog Millionaire. I am not going to claim it is perfect, an all-time great, but it is certainly worth the Oscars it has garnered ; which makes a nice change (I think of recent movies such as that boringly pretentious Giant rip-off which was There Will be Blood).
Having read Swarup’s Six Suspects it was easy to delineate certain features in the film: the strong narrative, the social panorama, the excoriation of injustice, the broad humour (though my suspicion would be that there might be rather more of this in the book). But Slumdog works as a really good movie which is what counts. It is wholly involving at an emotional level and passed my critical ‘tears’ test (a simple one : did it make me cry? although there are truly great movies which contradict this test – Kane, Regle du Jeu etc. – it is a pretty good stand-by). But in addition to this it clearly has substantial moral weight. And some pretty effective cinematic moments – the Taj Mahal rising out of the haze, the pull-back shots of the slums, the climactic montage of the final Millionaire show. Again I would not want to over-state; one could not call it cinematically brilliant. But it does enough, when taken with its emotional impact, to remind me what cinema can achieve. I do rather hope it is not 2 years before I feel moved enough to blog about a film again though!