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Slumdog Millionaire - Blu-ray DVD / arthouse and international DVD / drama DVD / suspense DVD / Academy Award-winning DVD review
SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE Rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America curledupdvd.com rating: 4 1/2 stars
Featuring: Dev Patel, Freida Pinto, Anil Kapoor, Irrfan Khan, Madhur Mittal, Ayush Mahesh Khedekar
Directors: Danny Boyle, Loveleen Tandan Distributor: Twentieth Century Fox
DVD release: 31 March 2009 Runtime: 120 min.
(2 discs)
Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, Dubbed, Subtitled, Widescreen, Blu-ray
DVD features: 1080p High Definition, Aspect ratio 2.35:1, Audio tracks (English/Hindi - DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Surround; French - Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround), Subtitles (English SDH, Hindi, French, Spanish), "Slumdog Dreams: Danny Boyle & The Making of Slumdog Millionaire," Deleted scenes, From Script To Screen: Toilet Scene, Indian Short Film - Manjha, Bombay Liquid Dance music video, Commentary (Dev Patel, dir. Danny Boyle), Commentary (prod. Christian Colson, writer Simon Beaufoy), Slumdog Cutdown, Digital copy of feature film

Jamal is a poor but resourceful boy in India who has survived in the slums of Mumbai with his brother, Salim. Jamal is more emotional than his older brother; Salim does whatever he must to survive - or make his life more comfortable. We see their lives mostly in a series of Jamal's flashbacks. An earnest boy, Jamal cares what people think of him; Salim would say that he has a soft heart. When they meet Latika, a girl their age, Latika, Jamal is keen on bringing here in to be their third musketeer. Salim is content to let her stand in the rain.

Jamal (Dev Patel) manages to get himself on "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?" and does very well. He's either
  1. a cheater,
  2. lucky,
  3. a genius, or
  4. gifted with that fate.
Discovering which answer is correct is the purpose of Slumdog Millionaire.

In the course of his, Jamal watches the tough, wasted streets of Mumbai evolve into the technological hub it is today. Patel plays it just right with taciturn stoicism at times and rage at others. It's all in his eyes - sadness, desperation, and love, all conveyed through his eyes.

Salim (Madhur Mittal) does more than a few things that he should be ashamed of, he remains unapologetic. He turns his back on his brother many times but expects all to be forgiven. Eventually, though, he does manage to redeem himself.

Latika (Frieda Pinto) finds an escape from the slums, but her path has been a troubling one. It wouldn't pay for her to throw in with another slumdog.

After a successful day on the show, the ominous horn sounds to indicate that Jamal must come back the next day to answer the deciding question - to decide if he wins 20 million rupees or goes back to the slums and his job as a chai-wallah empty-handed. The show's host, Prem Kumar (Anil Kapoor), doesn't believe that this slumdog is capable of answering the questions that have gotten him this far and calls the police. They take Jamal from the studio and into custody, there to be tortured to reveal the secret of his success. Here we discover his knack.

The brilliance of the Danny Boyle's directing in Slumdog Millionaire is the narrative. We know Jamal is poor and shouldn't know all the answers to the questions. Through his interrogation, we discover how he can possibly know such obscure facts when he has difficulty answering the simple first question that a grade school kid would know from citizenship classes. Later our minds sort all the events of the film into chronological order and we can tell this story from beginning to end, but it's effect is not as profound.

The Blu-ray version of Slumdog Millionaire does true justice to the sometimes panoramic, sometimes deeply intimate cinematography and the atmospheric soundtrack. All sorts of fun extras are included, notably director's commentary, deleted and extended scenes, behind-the-scenes featurette, and a digital copy. I find the inclusion of digital copies on these new release Blu-ray discs pleasing. I hope they keep it up!
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reviewed by Eric Renshaw
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