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Arts and Entertainment

Movie Review: Slumdog Millionaire

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If only the woman I loved looked at me like this. | Photo courtesy of Fox Searchlight

Whereas a minor film like Twilight (and I liked me some Twilight!) employs adolescents to tell a story about adolescent love, a truly powerful film like Slumdog Millionaire succeeds magnificently at the much trickier challenge of using adolescents--and even children--to convey the realmless and redemptive power of unconditional love. Furthermore, it shares with the audience one of the great luxuries of cinema; it draws you into a strange, new world that you never even imagined existed. It is nothing less than a rich marvel.

The film opens with a young Indian man named Jamal sitting in a police station accused of cheating at--of all things--Who Wants to be a Millionaire. From such a banal start, though, an amazing story begins. The police want to know how a common, uneducated vagrant (a "slumdog" in the parlance of the cops) could possibly know the answers to the esoteric questions that were posed to him on the game show. His answer is elegant and simple: the savage and brutal events of his life gave him every specific piece of knowledge he needed.