Earlier today I went to see ‘Slumdog Millionaire‘ at the local Vue. Firstly meta-commentary: £6.20 for a student ticket! I’m sure the cinema never used to be quite that expensive. Secondly, I do wish people would avoid talking though the film. I’m charitably assuming that one of the women behind me must have been blind, because her friend seemed to narrate was was on the screen every couple of minutes. Then again, the “Oh, this must be where he meets the lassie,” comment, among others, suggests I may being too generous. (Especially as by that stage we had already seen the ‘lassie’ in question several times!)
I first heard about ‘Slumdog Millionaire‘ a couple of months ago, certainly before the nationwide US release, and probably around the time it had first been seen in one of the film festivals. I thought it sounded interesting, but then only end up getting round to see it after its critical plaudits, and success at the box office. Sigh.
However, although I enjoyed the film, I felt it fell short of what it could have been. Even allowing for the requirement for flashbacks, the film often felt slightly disjointed. At times I found myself left in confusion as to how Jamal knew something (and I don’t mean the answers to the questions), and although it was possible to deduce the reasons from later in the scene, it often meant the beginning of the scene was slightly confusing. (Although possibly thats just me being slow)
Similarly, I felt there was a lack of narrative cohesion between most of the questions, and the associated flashback. While there is no particular reason why the answer to the question needs to tie in with the story more intimately, I feel it may have been more satisfactory that the use the ideas which in some places felt slightly shoe-horned in. Ironically, had the story been more contrived in places, it would have felt less so.
Oh dear, I make it sound like the film was terrible, when it was anything but. (Not to mention I must sound hypocritical when I say it felt disjointed in places.) I enjoyed the film overall, and felt it was a pretty good example of the way in which the British film industry operates best. The film certainly wouldn’t have come out of Hollywood, and I seriously doubt it could even come out of the American independent films scene. I’m not familiar enough with the Indian film industry to know wether a similar film could have been developed there. Obviously the author of Q&A was Indian, and the film made use of a number of Indian actors (as well as British, Asian actors), however my knowedge of Indian film extends as far as Bollywood, and I don’t what the rest of their film industry is like.