Sunday, January 4, 2009


Thinking about '08 in the movies, I am not sure how accurate my impression is, but it is this:  the year was a strange split between (a) cartoon and superhero movies (Batman, Ironman) (b) silly comedies (the Apatow bunch) and (c) little indie movies that could (Vicky Christina Barcelona, Slumdog Millionaire).  Oh, and the obligatory Bond movie.

I had always considered indie=good a terrible cliche.  There are things to be appreciated in the first two categories of movies.  The stunning thing is that it seems that the big studios completely gave up on any ambition to make movies with lasting substance, as if outsourcing that whole bit to the smaller production houses.  Which, I supposed is totally fine, as long as there's a way for obscure film makers to patch together funding to make movies.  I am just annoyed I have to go to old dirty subterranean Angelika to see them.

All of which is to say, Slumdog is as good as everyone says it is, and better.  For me, above all, it was a spectacular production of a terrific script.  Funnily, it closes with a Bollywood dance, as if to make light of all the horrific images of India which I suspect are truer to form than the movie would need you to believe.   And that's the clever thing about Slumdog:  it is not trying to make a statement about India or serve as a critique.  Instead, it is a love story, with the country - raw and ugly - as its backdrop.  

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