Citizen Kane meets double your money

PUBLISHED: 10:28 12 January 2009 | UPDATED: 15:47 07 September 2010

By Michael Joyce Slumdog Millionaire (15) Director Danny Boyle Starring Dev Patel, Anil Kapoor, Irrfan Khan, Madhur Mittal and Freida Pinto 120 mins Three star rating Imagine Citizen Kane set on an edition of TV s $64,000 Question and you will get some idea of what this n

Slumdog Millionaire (15) Director Danny Boyle Starring Dev Patel, Anil Kapoor, Irrfan Khan, Madhur Mittal and

Freida Pinto

120 mins

Three star rating

Imagine Citizen Kane set on an edition of TV's $64,000 Question and you will get some idea of

what this new film from need-a-hit pair director Boyle (Trainspotting) and scriptwriter Simon Beaufoy (Full Monty) is aiming for.

Jamal (Patel from C4's Skins) is a poor kid working as a tea boy in a Mumbai call centre who is on the verge of winning the big prize on the Indian version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?

After they break for the night, he is arrested by the police who can't accept that this kid from the slums could know the answers without cheating.

So one by one, he reveals how each question relates to his life growing up as an orphan, the fraught relationship with his brother and the pursuit of the great love of his life.

It's like a children's film for adults - attempting to capture the bewildering paradoxes of modern India. But there's a simplicity to it that should tip you off that the final destination is a feelgood romance.

Slumdog is vibrant, original and energetic and I couldn't stand it. I sat through it with my arms folded and my big grumpy face on. Watching it, I was like a pensioner sat by the sea on a summer's day wrapped up in my layers and tutting on about young people these days. It was even too loud for me.

Then afterwards I found out that everybody in the whole world seems to simply love it - so I suspect it could be me.

I have this very un-English total disinterest in all things Indian (even the great British curry is my takeaway of last resort) and just the merest hint of Bollywood has me reaching for the Nick Cave albums.

So I think I should just hold up my hands and admit a total blind spot here and wave you happily away as you too will no doubt be thrilled by it. Good luck to you. That said, the movie's jolting journey from hard realism to Bollywood romance seems entirely bogus.

One flashback structure is surely too trite to be taken seriously and isn't it a little galling to see Celador trying to squeeze just a little bit more money and exposure from their Millionaire cash cow?


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