Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire: not upbeat.

I just watched Slumdog Millionaire and I HATED IT.

I know this will be unpopular because it's all oscar nominated and everything but seriously? So depressing. The people I went to see it with (who loved it) were saying how uplifting it was, and I basically think that this film was about as 'uplifting' as Schindlers List, in that it was insanely depressing and bleak the entire way through til the very end when a couple of people get saved from the horror of everyone elses lives. Oh man. Just.... I'm not into depressing/deep things I guess. I like bright happy fluffy things, which I know is probably shallow of me, but I'm too prone to depressing myself that I don't need to watch films which are horribly sad the entire way through.

If you are planning to watch this film (ie, are a sado masochist), watch out for the SPOLIERS BELOW!

this film contains: Child abuse, the intentional blinding of a street kid so he can make more money for his owner guy, parents getting senselessly killed, prostitution of an underaged girl, implied rape, abusive relationships, a brother who is an out and out ARSEHOLE, torture, police interrogation, massive poverty, a girl having her face cut and subsequently being scarred, death everywhere, a gormless protagonist, corruption... I think that's everything.

The plot centers around the main guy's life in the slums where he grows up with his brother (the aforementioned arsehole) after their mother is killed by random people for no reason, following them being taken into an orphanage/thief/begging gang where a kid who can sing well gets acid or something put in his eyes so he can make more money begging, til they escape and then spend the rest of their generally depressing and shitty lives going round the slums. There's a girl he falls in love with at the orphanage who gets generally whored out, blah blah... Anyway, he ends up somehow being on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, where he gets all the answers right due to them being in some way connected to his various depressing life events (which is all in flashback). Even that isn't in any way upbeat or happy, the host of the show feeding him the wrong answer to the final question (which for some reason he doesn't choose), then shopping him to the police for assumed cheating. That's where all the flashbacks happen, during being tortured (simulated drowning! Electro torture!) by the douchebag policemen.
The one TINY single piece of happiness in the whole fucking film is that he manages to win the show and find his one true love (now with a big scar on her face of course, after her asshole bro and his boss got angry with her for trying to run away). They meet up, he's won the show, it's all gravy for them, AND NOONE ELSE! after his brother inexplicably killed himself/initiated a shootout in a bath of money in some sort of attempt to redeem himself for his selfish ways throughout the film and everyone else who we've seen in the film being killed, maimed or assumed dead. Noone gets any kind of comeuppance (although a few of the bad people do get shot I guess, but none go back to the poverty that the main characters are borne from).

In any case, regardless of my personal distaste for uberdepressing films in general, the film itself has such ludicrous coincidences. How come all the questions in the film were in the same order as the things which gave him the answers occured in his life?

In conclusion, I fucking hated pretty much every minute of this film (aside from the random credits' bollywood dance sequence), and will never again watch a Danny Boyle film. Further more, I would like to say to Mr Boyle should he be reading this, that I personally feel a vengeance toward him.

I just watched the trailer again and it reminded me of another thing I hated about the film: The music!! I HATE M.I.A! Seriously can not stand that voice. She seems like a cool person and stuff but her voice is like fingernails downa blackboard. I am so tempted to make my own version of a M.I.A. song.
And the trailer uses 'hoppipola' by Sigur Ros?? HOW ORIGINAL.

AAHHH I HATE THIS FILM SO MUCH!!! It pisses me off so fucking much that any film that deals with someone coming out of a poor background (especially by fucking Danny Boyle) inbues this kind of ethereal worthiness in them from the get go. This idea that because someone is from a shitty place, the fact that they are a good person is somehow a fucking miracle. It's... racist? Classist? I don't know exactly, but it upsets me on a fundamental level. It seems to imply (to me, and I'm reading into this here) a sort of old world art/patron sense of 'oh look! A poor person who's not a thief or an idiot!! What a funny anomaly! How quaint!'. It's like old paintings of 'The haywain' or whatever, with rich people making/buying art which was of peasants feeding geese or whatever other poor-people things they did. Not helping the situation, but just looking at it like just another amusement.


Deborah said...

Yeah I haven't seen it yet but it does seem really REALLy depressing. Who knows I might like it though *shrugs shoulders*

sarahheartsny said...

I was going to leave quite a lengthy comment, but now I can't find the words. In essence, all I really want to say is THANK YOU SO MUCH!

Although I haven't seen the film, reading your blog entry was like reading something I'd written myself. I share your exact views, literally word for word.

I've been considering seeing the film, but I HATE going to the movies and having really depressing shit thrown in my face... so yes, thanks for the heads up!

NusaCat said...

Speaking of fingernails on blackboards, I feel that way about Nancy Grace's voice and attitude, regardless of what network she's working for.

testorx said...

Indians work cheap, there is a huge profit potential for this fantasy film.

testorx said...

Indians work cheap, there is a huge profit potential for this fantasy film!

Nick said...

"How come all the questions in the film were in the same order as the things which gave him the answers occured in his life?"

I sort of thought that was the point.

You say the film to too realistic and depressing (torture etc.). But yet say the coincidence/fate of him knowing the answers isn't realistic enough.

It really depends on why people go to the movies. Do you go and watch movies that are joyful and fantasy, something that affirms your way of life and makes you leave feeling happy or content.

Or do you want to watch something that is challenging and thought provoking?

wirrow said...

i know its like moulin rouge! so cheesy and unrealistic :o

jadedconformist said...

Your disdain for the movie aside, it's great to have a Western touch in a Bollywood film. As pointed out in this article on Guardian, "The bitter truth is, Slumdog Millionaire could only have been made by westerners. The talent exists in India for such movies: much of it, like the brilliant actor Irrfan Khan, contributed to this film. But Bollywood producers, fixated with making flimsy films about the lives of the middle class, will never throw their weight behind such projects. Like Bachchan, they are too blind to what India really is to deal with it. Poor Indians, like those in Slumdog, do not constitute India's "murky underbelly" as Bachchan moronically describes them. They, in fact, are the nation. Over 80% of Indians live on less than $2.50 (£1.70) a day; 40% on less than $1.25. A third of the world's poorest people are Indian, as are 40% of all malnourished children. In Mumbai alone, 2.6 million children live on the street or in slums, and 400,000 work in prostitution. But these people are absent from mainstream Bollywood cinema."

More: http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/filmblog/2009/jan/15/danny-boyle-shows

jgirvine said...

hmmm... I really liked it,

chris said...

That movie suuuuucks.

But I haven't seen it yet.

Sugandha said...

As much as I think you are awesome and appreciate your opinions, I don't think the movie is "unrealistic".

Infact, it is as close to the truth as possible. All the things shown like the torture, blinding, rape, prostitution, the poverty, the religious clashes, EVERYTHING happens in India. And I don't think the point of the movie was to be "uplifting" it was to show what people have to suffer and sure, there was this assumption that all poor people are bad but I guess that's what happens when you're poor and they have to resort to being cruel and dishonest to survive. And it's not as if the rich people were depicted as saintly, they were corrupt as well.

So I agree with Nick "Do you go and watch movies that are joyful and fantasy, something that affirms your way of life and makes you leave feeling happy or content.

Or do you want to watch something that is challenging and thought provoking?"

As for the questions being in order of life events, I suppose that's creative license (besides the movie is based on a novel...)

I think you'd enjoy the mainstream Bollywood movies though. Lots of singing and dancing, pretty people and bright clothes ^^

Poroma said...

god, bryony, WHY?

i agree slumdog millionaire is highly improbable and depressing. but what the FUCK are you talking about? it's so extremely realistic! sorry, you don't like depressing shit, but depressing shit is basically the life story of a lot of india's population, as well as the world.

and i hardly believe that western cinema reduces poor people to idiots or immoral thieves. i actually think it's quite the opposite. but why is it so upsetting that we should admire someone from a shitty background coming out of it for the better?

also, the film is not about revenge or getting back at wrongdoers. it's about the power of a good heart! it's all in the film's tagline really. the whole movie is based on the concept of destiny, which is exactly why the answers to the questions occured in the sequential events of his life. if the idea of a difficult fate makes you so damn angry, why go see the movie in the first place?

Benz said...

Oscar predictions.

Picture: Slumdog Millionaire
Actor: Penn
Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger (should be Robert Downy though)
Director: Dude who directed Benjamin Button.

I actually liked slumdog. It's good to see indie movies on the rise.

K said...

The mother was killed during Hindu-Muslim riots. Over 900 people were killed in these riots.

ciociosanx said...

Can't handle depressing movies??

David and Taipai Michelson said...

My wife and I just went to see SDM and we walked out shell-shocked. I agree with your comments completely - everything that was meant to be inspiring and positive in the movie felt contrived and was lost in a sea of sadness. I don't mind seeing depressing movies. I just wish no one had ever described this one as uplifting.

Mujeeb-U-Rahman said...

I think this movie is extreamly a great message for those who had forgot about the way of living or lifestyle of poor people, If we don't remind people about poor then a stage will come where nobody whould had sympthy for them and no one whould like to give aid or help. I like Mr. Boyle because his films are not even intresting to watch but besides it is spreading out some great messages whom we don't oftenly think about it.

smallawei said...