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Slumdog Millionaire


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Does anyone else think this looks vile and manipulative? Yet another, dreadful, shooting fish in a barrel film festival box ticker? Quite offended to see the word "masterpiece" being banded around.

 

Let's all breath in the gooey music, uber cliched "relevant" handheld work (REALLY shot in India by REAL, rich white Western people) and and feel good about ourselves. While the maker's of Millionaire make a fortune off of this.

 

Tim, dare I say i believe you've missed the point on this, so much that I find it difficult to believe you have actually seen it.

 

Yes the film is a crowd-pleaser, its sentimental, even possibly unsophisticated but just because the film happens to take place in a part of poverty stricken India does not mean that 1.) its motivations are purely for award appreciation 2.) that the production shoot was detractive or non-beneficial for the local community.

 

From my understanding, this was a large production the sort that generally brings in much needed wealth and interest into a community, it wasn't shot in the dubious undercover way that for example The Constant Gardner was.

 

Also if you look at Danny Boyle's work unlike many he is the last person seeking prestige or awards, and if you look at all his past films, be it 28 Days Latter, Millions, Sunshine or Trainspotting, he obviously chooses stories and scripts which are ultimately interesting to him, whether they have financial or critical reliability or not.

 

Obviously he's not everyone's cup-of-tea, his bizarre surrealistic turns, his somewhat 'hip' approach and his overuse of popular modern music can be infuriating to many but at least he's consistent and at times striking. The 'gooey' music could have easily been trite and cliché traditional Indian music but rather chooses modern western music for a more euphoric and energetic feel.

 

And whats wrong with Westerner's shooting films in other countries, were Lawrence of Arabia and The Third Man wrong to shoot films in Spain, Morocco and war torn Vienna?

 

In fact if you want to tell an old fashioned story of rags to riches, good vs evil, you have to go to the Wild West west, war torn countries or the slums of India because thats where these things can believably exist - one of the big fundamental problems of making films in the UK is the society is so 'good', with national health, income support, a lack of crime and guns that it is dramatically, in fiction terms - boring.

 

Lastly the film includes very little actual handheld camerawork.

 

 

Max, please don't see this film, I know you well enough now to know you'll hate it - it includes deliberatly digital clippy photography, dutch angles, frenetic movement, lots of gain, its sentimental and sweet - everything you detest!

 

If you promise to never see this film, i'll promis never to see Transformers, deal? :P

Edited by Andy_Alderslade
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I haven't seen the film, I am just going entirely off the plot synopsis and the trailer, both of which made me cough up stomach acid.

 

From the colourful, UK arts council committee panel depicition of India and all of it's problems to the manipulative, spoonfed "suspense" formula of the MILLIONAIRE game show, trivialising the deprivation angle in favour of the TV sob story format that includes bottom of the barrel sludge about "Destiny" (don't we see this cheap approach every week on American Idol/XFactor?), and countless formal ethnic cliches to Danny Boyle just making another film in that typical UK arts council committee style ("Brits have themselves to blame for the film industry because they don't go to the cinema enough"! yeah, that's why MILLIONS bombed :rolleyes: ), it just screams patronising, pretentious, puddle shallow, smug, obvious, cheap, plastic, disposable and in poor taste. The kind of film that anyone with any genuine integrity would leave well alone because it's rhetorically, insultingly obvious and cliche ridden.

 

All this talk of "masterpiece", comparisons to Spielberg- honestly, after over a hundred years of cinema, can you say this is the ultimate for right now for mainstream film? Even for the rags to riches genre?

 

For the record, I really liked Danny Boyle's TRAINSPOTTING and SHALLOW GRAVE. Maybe Boyle should go make a low budget council flat film in Scotland with Hodge, McDonald and Tufano.

 

 

 

Maybe you should watch the movie first before making your mind up about it.

 

R.

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I haven't seen the film, I am just going entirely off the plot synopsis and the trailer, both of which made me cough up stomach acid.

 

From the colourful, UK arts council committee panel depicition of India and all of it's problems to the manipulative, spoonfed "suspense" formula of the MILLIONAIRE game show, trivialising the deprivation angle in favour of the TV sob story format that includes bottom of the barrel sludge about "Destiny"

 

Well you haven't seen it so you have no idea what it's about. Millionaire is a device it's not what the film is about. In fact, millionaire comes off looking bad when the host of the show cheats. As I mentioned, this was already a well respected and awarded novel, written by Vikas Swarup, before the film was made.

 

You're also making an assumption that this 15 million dollar (US) film was somehow funded by the UK arts council ( which as far as I know isn't true ) and then using your own prejudice of previous UK arts council films to make a judgement about this film.

 

 

The kind of film that anyone with any genuine integrity would leave well alone because it's rhetorically, insultingly obvious and cliche ridden.

 

Right so everyone else in this thread that has actually *seen* the film rates it from ok to very good. I understand now. You must be of genuine integrity because you haven't seen it and have left it alone because of your own cynical political agenda.

 

Most of the contemporary cinema and literature from this part of the world IS melodramatic and cliché ridden. Perhaps you don't like films as escapism.

 

 

All this talk of "masterpiece", comparisons to Spielberg- honestly, after over a hundred years of cinema, can you say this is the ultimate for right now for mainstream film? Even for the rags to riches genre?

 

Can you say its not ? How would you know ?

 

From reading your own words, you seem to have an issue with the UK arts council and they way they fund films and the creator's of television shows like millionaire plus you don't seem to think it's right that a *rich white man* can tell an Indian story.

 

How about you go see the film before spouting off and then we can discuss the film on it's own merits. You have a genuine excuse to see it now just for it's cinematography, cause it just got nominated for an ASC award along with Dark Knight, Benjamin Button, The Reader and Revolutionary Road. Seems it's in good company.

 

jb

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[

 

 

Like I said, this is my impression from the synopsis and the trailer, and also looking at the people involved. Are the trailer and synopsis totally misleading?

 

Your views on the film based on seeing the trailer and reading the synopsis are not what I would think is a correct reading of the film. I could tell from your views that you hadn't actually seen it (as could others). Trailers are used to sell a film. They are not always what the film is about. It's not uncommon for the trailer to be totally different to the actual film and sometimes have shots that aren't actually in the finished film.

 

I don't see the point in watching a film (let alone paying to watch a film) I find to have a horrible premise and a director I'm not too fond. You don't need to watch a film to know you think it's clearly terrible. Are you going to actually watch UNIVERSAL SOLDIER 3 or Jean Claude Van Damme/Rob Zombie's new film before you dismiss it?

 

No one's forcing you to watch the film. Not seeing the film and *then* commenting on it in a public forum dedicated to discussing the minutiae of the film, describing it being pretentious, smug vile etc seems pretty idiotic don't you think ?

 

I don't see all films. But I do see a lot, both mainstream and indie, and yes I PAY to see films I suspect I won't like. But you never know if there might be something redeeming in a film. There often is even in the worst ones. I like to think I wouldn't comment on a film I haven't actually seen and certainly not in a public forum.

 

Why do I have a "political agenda" (as oppose to say an opinion) because I think the film looks horrible and I therefore refuse to watch it?

 

You have an agenda because you refer to things that have nothing to do with the actual production of this film, such as UK arts council funding. You have passed judgement on the merits of a film and inferred a form of exploitation on a production you haven't seen.

 

By the way, I really disliked the Dark Knight, and even it's photography.

 

A perfectly valid opinion about a film I presume you have actually watched. I'd welcome an informed discussion about Slumdog Millionaire.

 

jb

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"My main criterion to judge art is honesty, and these kinds of films are anything but."

 

Go see the film and then you can yack and complain, (childish name calling removed by admin) .

Stop trying to pick fights with me Joe. I clearly stated that I was talking about films in general, not Slumdog Millionaire in particular.

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I'm normally much more reserved in my comments but this thread got me a little heated.

 

Why would someone who has NOT seen the film believe their opinion is worth anyone's time?

 

Conjecture and 2nd hand information are not valid sources for participating in any discussion. A trailer and synopsis? These are your grounds for offering an opinion and expecting it to be given any credence? Who wrote the synopsis you read? Why should any critics opinion be more valid than anyone else's? Appeal to authority is obviously a fundamental flaw in logic. In addition to which, if you already have an opinion on something you will seek and find validation of that opinion: yours is negative, so you will find and pay attention to negative reviews.

 

I would be interested in knowing exactly what percentage of the negative opinions of the film you've heard are held by persons who are Asian. For the record I have Indian roots although I was not born in India and "every" person of similar persuation that I know (both born in India and not) have loved the film and seen it more than once. So tell me why your unvalidated opinion should in any way, shape or form be paid any attention? For every one negative review you've heard, I have five positive ones.

 

Why stop at providing critical opinions on a film you haven't seen? Consider the following:

 

If someone reviewed a book without reading it or music without listening to it what would we do with that opinion? Discard it like so much trash.

 

To expect anyone to accept your opinion when you haven't seen the film is a ludicrous expectation.

 

All films or works of art are political in nature; they present a point of view, some better than others. If you don't agree with the view presented that's fine, but don't criticise it if you haven't even taken the time to view/study/observe the work. That's pretentious.

 

The film is not about the mechanism "Millionaire: the game show". The film is about survival and how surviving the events in your life propel you toward your destiny: life is a journey, not a destination, but realize there are stops along the way that ultimately help us toward our final destination. This film showed us some of the protagonists stops along the way to where he ended up at the end of the film, not the end of his journey.

 

You really should screen it. Whether or not your opinions are validated or repudiated, at least you could then back up your statements on the film.

 

Even bad films tech you things, if you are open to learning. Slumdog Millionaire was definitely not a bad film, quite the opposite.

 

Just my 2c. Feel free to disagree,

 

K.

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No actually, all you've generated is a discussion about why you should look at the film, and about the eroneous assumptions you have made. You haven't offered or contributed anything that added to a discussion of the film. After all, what can (what have you actually said about the FILM?) you say about the acting, directing, pacing, production design, textures, colors, wardrobe, etc.? It's just another example of how the internet has changed things, in this case not for the better and also why so many filmmakers/critics today have nothing worth saying because all they do is regurgitate.

 

Your comparison to hearing bits and pieces of music in commercials or ads and then judging the whole of an album or a musician does not address my point: certainly you are entitled to an opinion, but in a film discussion the foundation for valid discussion is to have screened the entire film.

 

Again, I'm not disputing your right to an opinion, or to like or dislike something. But, to have an engaging discussion about the topic it must be discussed. So if I said, the Bird's Eye View Shot of the Slums, moving from wide to vista was pretty impressive, and quite sharp. I wonder what lenses they used? And, how did they maintain the framing - was it in camera or through repositioning the negative? Can you in any way speak on that? If you haven't seen the film, clearly you can't. And this is just an example. To examine the politics of the film, ideally you would have to screen it more than once because there are many ways to view the film based on your perspective or whichever ideology you adopt at each screening. So, are you open to that? Have you considered that there is/are another/other view/s you can adopt while screening this film which may allow you to appreciate it or at least enhance your understanding of what the filmmakers were attempting - even if they failed in your opinion?

 

So, all I'm saying is maybe you should go see the film, and perhaps open yourself up to things a bit more: if you have an open mind you would be surprised at the things that pop into it and which may lead to inspiration of many types. Quite often as filmmakers we end up being closed to the very thing we love and that is a shame, a tragedy we should avoid at all costs.

 

Again, this is just my opinion and I'm not married to it!!

 

K.

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As this is CINEMATOGRAPHY.com after all, and I have just watched the film in a top London cinema, did anyone else find the GAIN (not grain) very distracting in parts of the film? There were many moments were video banding and noise could be seen in a lot of shots. This was especially true of the game-show segments, does anyone happen to know what those bits were shot on?

 

I am going to refrain from commenting on the SI camera at the moment, because as I understand it the thing was (and is) a prototype camera not really "ready" yet and had SI engineers on-hand to keep it working right...

 

I enjoyed the film though, although I have to disagree with the MASSIVE hype...

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I briefly read something that this Tim fellow stated about 'hand-held' and I must say he is wrong in this aspect, they used gyro to stabilize the SL-2K while filming in the slums. And at least 1/3 of the movie was shot with standard 35mm film. Tim, when everyone's against you, it may be time to reassess your opinion a little. At least come to a compromise.

 

James, I noticed that grain too, I can't seem to see why it was there, but maybe it was just a copy given out to English theatres, 'cause I saw it in Stratford at the time of release.

 

The massive hype is a little ridiculous, the film isn't that good, but nor is it bad or mediocre. It seems as though it's gonna take the cake this Oscar season.

Edited by Marcus Johnston
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hello all! I am REAL indian cinematographer, REALLY working in India :) (just about started, only two features and three years old, post film school)

 

yet to see Slumdog, got it as a torrent download, but refuse to watch it and will do so only at the theatres.

 

i am sure its a well made film, and I look forward to seeing it. BTW, not all Indian films are about escape from reality etc, some are downright ridiculous ;) while some others are really masterpieces.

 

must watch out for the Gain and video banding...

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slumdog has also this true bollywood look, we love, because boyle and dodmantle hired a 100% indian second unit to shoot 35 material.

as dodmantle said in AC i found also the tv game segment too bulky, noisy compare to the rest of the film.

it's logical for a tv show to be shot in video but in the story the show represent the "must" of success, wealth, the dream so visualy we expect it to be rich as well

just my opinion...

 

verry good film ideed with interesting second cast (the brother)

 

the end is a bit strange (in victoria station) but must have been more conveniant to film it on this location.

 

 

with slumdog we are verry far from "the beach" and it's a good thing

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Saw the film, loved it for its story and the way it was told. It was really a fresh take on this type of love story (childhood sweethearts). Can't comment too much on the technicals as I saw it on my humble 30-or-so inch LCD TV (although some shots did feel a bit murky), but I loved the camera angles and framing- especially since they did nothing but enhance the narrative. Boyle's dealt with such a wide band of genres and done them all rather successfully.

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  • 1 month later...
Anyone else see it?

 

I saw it and thought it was terrific. I very involved with the story (which i suppose is primary) and the cinematography was amazing. Every shot had something unique to it. Not to mention incredible imagery/symbolism and use of colour. I think the one shot that shows Latika as a young women at the very beginning sums up how our protagonist feels about her. All the yellow, the reversing trains as the camera zooms out, her smile... So many examples from that film.

 

But yah yah yah, all that intellectual stuff. Really, it was just a great story when it came down to it. The juxtaposition of the "Who Wants To Be a Millionaire" and the poverty the characters went through produces a lot of irony through out that can be appreciated by anyone - not just people reading into every detail like myself lol

 

I could write a whole essay on that film it feels like. I was happy to see a film of its caliber come out, because I have been disappointed more often than not with some films of late. Lots to learn from Slumdog Millionaire.

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I saw it and thought it was terrific. I very involved with the story (which i suppose is primary) and the cinematography was amazing. Every shot had something unique to it. Not to mention incredible imagery/symbolism and use of colour. I think the one shot that shows Latika as a young women at the very beginning sums up how our protagonist feels about her. All the yellow, the reversing trains as the camera zooms out, her smile... So many examples from that film.

 

I could write a whole essay on that film it feels like. I was happy to see a film of its caliber come out, because I have been disappointed more often than not with some films of late. Lots to learn from Slumdog Millionaire.

 

I agree pretty much with all that you said.

 

The first time I saw it, I went into the theater with absolutely zero expectations because I'd never heard of it before. When it ended, my jaw was wide open, I could not believe how moved I was by the story, the unique way of telling the story, and the absolutely stunning color the film had. Half of the time I was drooling over shots that were very wide...such as the one of the "beach" where they were all doing their laundry and the range of color in that shot just floored me. (I know I sound like a fanboy, and I probably am, but in all honesty, the movie really made me feel this way and I am more than okay with that). I mean, there were so many good things that I liked about the cinematography that its hard to pinpoint just a few things because I really did love the whole film.

 

Very moving piece that really made me feel like I was experiencing their lives without intruding on them. I feel that this is due to a lot of the camera angles and overall cinematography of the film.

 

I saw it a second time, and this time I was paying more attention to the details and I could not help but just want to freeze frame half the movie and be like, god that is beautiful.

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  • 3 weeks later...
I just rented the Blu-Ray disc for $2 which is a lot cheaper than going to the movie.

 

Well, you're still down $1.50 from what it wold've cost you to see a $0.50 matinee a month. Even with gas, you'd be on top seeing the matinee, unless you bill out your time at $120/hr. :blink:

 

Oh, but, yeah, that'd be an inferior film print, which you've already alluded to as being inferior to your 30-something inch LCD monitor.

 

Seriously, though, for someone who's such a digital purist, you couldn't venture out of your home to see this film?

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Actually when I told my wife that I would never have to take her out to see a movie ever again because she bought me a Blu-Ray player and that makes movie theatres obsolete it didn't really go over very well. From a technical point of view I may be right however from a romantic point of view it is not a date unless you take a woman out to the theatre.

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I just rented the Blu-Ray disc for $2 which is a lot cheaper than going to the movie.

 

You don't have a $0.99 second run theatre near you?

 

I never buy the popcorn and pop. though the first run theatre which is within walking distance gives a free small popcorn on bargin monday's.

 

But the giant coke, you'll miss part of the movie while running to the rest room.

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But the giant coke, you'll miss part of the movie while running to the rest room.

 

Lol. Right? Without fail. EVERY time. Does anyone know what happens in the middle of "Knowing" right after dude steals the kid in the car and the lady buys it at the intersection?

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On a more serious note, second run theatres are the poop.

 

"Collateral", "There Will Be Blood", "American Gangster", and "Benjamin Button" are just a few of the recent films I never would've had a chance to see on the big screen were it not for thse little gems.

 

Two out of those four I saw the last day they were being played, like a day before the film came out on tape.

 

Aparantly, these beautiful phenomena don't exist in places like NJ or posh towns on the West coasttt, where they gouge you to the tune of $12.50 to see a flick these days.

 

Paying that much is madness.

 

I saw "Dark Knight" at the Henry Ford IMAX theatre in Detroit for $6 on a Sunday. $12.50? Really? That includes the soda-pop, candy, and popcorn, right? No?

 

I still can't believe the last film I saw in NJ, the stupid one about the vampire, because my cousin wanted me to come see it with here, and they charge me $10 to get in. WOW.

 

 

EDIT: I lied. It was $5 on a Sunday. With gas what it was back in November, I think with the turnpike and the fillup it was *still* cheaper than $12.50 to interstate commute to see a film. . .

Edited by Karl Borowski
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