The colorful, energetic and sometimes exciting Slumdog Millionaire tracks the journey of orphan boy Jamal Malik from the most humble of origins on the mean streets of Mumbai (née Bombay) to one of the center-stage chairs on the Indian version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. To get there, he has to escape a cruel Fagin who deploys children on the city streets as beggars; he exploits the Western tour groups who long for a glimpse of “the real India”; he endures anti-Muslim hate crimes; and he even suffers the repeated betrayals of his own brother, Salim. Each squalid, traumatic adventure builds up the stolid, stone-faced demeanor with which Jamal faces down India’s answer to Regis Philbin (a delightfully smarmy Anil Kapoor) — Jamal may be uneducated, but his mind is like a steel trap, and his far-reaching experiences have given him the bits of knowledge he needs to answer each of the host’s esoteric trivia questions. The twist is that Jamal isn’t after fame and fortune. Instead, he longs to rescue Latika, an orphan girl he befriended many years ago as a boy and now pines for with the full-blooded longing of a romantic hero, from the clutches of a high-rolling Mumbai gangster.
There are movies within this movie.
Early in Sunshine, the new Danny Boyle movie about astronauts on an earth-saving mission to the surface of the sun — following on the heels of an earlier, mysteriously failed attempt — one of the crew members visits an observation deck that gives him a well-framed view of the enormous, burning star his spaceship is approaching. His view of the retina-scorching spectacle is heavily filtered to protect his eyes; he suggests the onboard computer let a little more light in, dons a pair of shades, and absorbs the superheated spectacle. The molten textures and angry fire give way to a blazing whiteness that dilates and spreads into all corners of the theatrical frame, as though the photochemical shadows burned into celluloid were being eaten away, as if by acid, in the light of a purer expression of the very idea of image.