Slumdog Millionaire is set in Mumbai and adapted to the big screen from Vikas Swarup's novel "Q & A."
In other words: there's a good chance movie goers aren't familiar with a single aspect of this film.
But it doesn't matter. The surprisingly mesmerizing story focuses on a poor but plucky and industrious Muslim boy named Jamal (played by Dev Patel as a young man). He receives an opportunity at becoming a millionaire on an Indian TV quiz show that's at once lurid, garish, and exciting. It's a combination of Bollywood meeting Hollywood.
The motivation for Jamal to take on this show's challenge? His love for Latika, a friend who is a big fan of the series.
Director Danny Boyles is fanatic at depitcing the paradoxes of Western culture when it infiltrates Third world countries such as India or Africa.
As Jamal succeeds on the show, he's faced with charges of fraud because everyone figures a boy in his position must be cheating. Jamal must explain to the police how he came to acquire knowledge that is generally unavailable to someone of his class and educational level.
Each answer relates to an aspect of Jamal’s life and that of his older brother Salim and Latika, the girl he has loved since he was seven. It's moving stuff, focusing on poverty and crime at all levels of society
Even the camera work is well done, as viewers are often taken through the streets and shantytown alleys at the speed of the sprinting kids themselves. One's head is spinning as one gets to know this unique world like never before.
Mark our words: Slumdog Millionaire will be nominated for Best Picture.