Adapted by Simon Beaufoy from Vikas Swarup’s novel Q&A this winning story of a Mumbai street urchin (Skins’ Dev Patel) who makes it to the final round of India’s version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? might well be the film that finally eclipses the Yorkshire screenwriter’s supremely successful 1997 debut, The Full Monty. Similarly, Danny Boyle’s imaginative and ultra-dynamic treatment of the material makes Slumdog Millionaire arguably the best film yet from the talented director of hits such as Trainspotting, 28 Days Later and Millions.
Working with a small British crew (among them the excellent cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle) and a larger Indian one (including most notably co-director Loveleen Tandan), Boyle and Beaufoy have fashioned an enormously enjoyable film that’s part Bollywood romance, part Dickensian social drama and part gangster movie. Shot on location in and around the slums of Mumbai, it’s a hyper-realistic thrill-ride that gives a great sense of life in the chaotic and contradictory city that’s currently in the news due to the recent terrorist attacks.
Watching Slumdog Millionaire feels like watching six films at once, all of which is quite in keeping with the Bollywood cinema style that this film happily embraces, right down to the marvellous song and dance routine during the closing credits.
General release from Fri 9 Jan. See feature, page 18 and profile in index.