US critics go gaga over ‘Slumdog Millionaire’

November 13th, 2008 - 1:29 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Nov 13 (IANS) Film critics in the US are raving about “Slumdog Millionaire”, British director Danny Boyle’s latest offering adapted from Indian diplomat Vikas Swarup’s bestselling novel “Q & A”, with some predicting it will go to the Oscars.From syndicated film critic Roger Ebert, whose reviews get published in 200 US newspapers to mainstream dailies like the New York Times, The Washington Post and USA Today, praise for the film that stars Bollywood’s Anil Kapoor and Irrfan Khan has come from all over.

“This is a breathless, exciting story, heartbreaking and exhilarating at the same time, about a Mumbai orphan who rises from rags to riches on the strength of his lively intelligence,” said Ebert. “The film’s universal appeal will present the real India to millions of moviegoers for the first time.”

“When I saw ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ at Toronto, I was witnessing a phenomenon: dramatic proof that a movie is about how it tells itself,” he said, calling it “one of those miraculous entertainments that achieves its immediate goals and keeps climbing toward a higher summit”.

“It’s hard to hold onto any reservations in the face of Mr. Boyle’s resolutely upbeat pitch and seductive visual style,” said the New York Times. “It’s an undeniably attractive package, a seamless mixture of thrills and tears, armchair tourism …and crackerjack professionalism.”

“Both the reliably great Irrfan Khan (”A Mighty Heart”), as a sadistic detective, and the Bollywood star Anil Kapoor, as the preening game-show host, run circles around the young Mr. Patel, an agreeable enough if vague centrepiece to all this coordinated, insistently happy chaos,” it said.

“With its stock characters and often outlandishly contrived plot,” said the Washington Post, the film “could easily be relegated to the category of cinematic stunt, a penny dreadful for the post-modern age.

“But even at its most superficial and floridly overheated, this chai-fuelled tall tale retains its appeal, largely because of Boyle’s fluency with the medium he so obviously loves.”

The Washington Times called it “a prize worth savouring”. The film “immerses the audience in an alien landscape and shows it through the eyes of a young man fighting against history and his own culture’s expectations”.

The New York Post critic Lou Lumenick declared it “SLUMDERFUL!” “THIS ‘MILLIONAIRE’ IS WELL WORTH ITS WEIGHT IN GOLD,” he said, adding: “Four stars simply aren’t enough for Danny Boyle’s ‘Slumdog Millionaire’, which just may be the most entertaining movie I’ve ever labelled a masterpiece in these pages.”

Los Angeles Times critic Kenneth Turan said: “Boyle has been nothing if not bold with this film. He’s dared to use so many venerable movie elements it’s dizzying, dared us to say we won’t be moved or involved, dared us to say we’re too hip to fall for tricks that are older than we are. And, as witnessed by ‘Slumdog’s’ capturing of the Toronto Film Festival’s often prophetic audience award, he’s won that bet.”

The New York Daily News said: “Boyle borrows heavily from Bollywood, and every dazzling frame seems ready to overflow - with people, emotions and a riot of colour…But when Boyle pulls back to show us his grand vision, it’s a stunner. And everything suddenly falls into place, as if this uncommonly daring film was fated to work from the very start.”

“With dazzling, magical realism and vigorous storytelling, the film has an enchanting power, fusing a fairy tale quality with gritty realism,” said USA Today. “The beautifully rendered and energetic tale celebrates resilience, the power of knowledge and the vitality of the human experience. Horrifying, humorous and life-affirming, it is, above all, unforgettable.”

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