Monday, January 26, 2009

Written in Stone

Excuse the cliché. If you are going to see one movie this year, let that movie be “Slumdog Millionaire.”

Danny Boyle’s twentieth effort in the director’s chair has produced a beautifully shot film, deep in meaning and accompanied by an exceptional soundtrack.

If you have seen the televised trailers, you might think it is merely the story of an impoverished Indian teen getting a chance to win a lot of money and pull his loved ones out of poverty.

This promise of a simple story line may be an effort to get game show weaned middle Americans into the theatres. However, this film is anything but simple.

“Slumdog Millionaire” is based on the book “Q & A” by Vikas Swarup, and a skillfully written screen adaptation by Simon Beaufoy . In fact, one of the most amazing things about the film is its structure.

The film opens as the protagonist (Jamal Malik) finds himself one question away from 20,000,000 Rupees on the Indian version of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?”.

The question posed to the film’s audience is “How did he do it?”

A) He Cheated
B) He’s Lucky
C) He’s a genius
D) It is written (Changed for the US trailer)

As the film continues, we are presented with a surprisingly disturbing tale of one young man’s life. It is a life that, unlike our own, is not filled with choices as much as obstacles and traumas that he must endure.

I think the idealistic message being conveyed here is that no matter how much pain one endures in one’s life, it all ends up having a divine purpose in the end. The hardship molds us. It shapes us. Perhaps into a new form that is needed later in life.

Some call it the grand plan. Some call it destiny.

This is by no means the first film to confront this issue. Strangely enough, “Cast Away” is on TNT as I write this. It contains a similar message, but in a different package.

The moral of Slumdog is essentially a nice one. It suggests that although the path may be littered with painful shards of glass, our fate is predestined and our endurance will be rewarded.

As I get older, I feel like the idealism of my youth gets covered over by callous layers of realism. My visions of what should be are often crushed by what is.

Are we drifting down a river controlled by its current making futile efforts to steer ourselves, or do we unknowingly travel on a rigid set of rails?

As times goes on, I am repeatedly amazed by my inability to predict the future, but I can say with absolute certainty that this year the Oscar for best picture will go to “Slumdog Millionaire”.

After all … it is written.

“A person often meets his destiny on the road he took to avoid it.”

~ Jean de La Fontaine

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Getting Older

Despite my best efforts, I am getting older, so I think a change in profile pictures is in order.

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Big Surprise

The Pentagon said today that 61 former detainees from its military prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, appear to have returned to terrorism since their release from custody.

This comes as a shock to US military officials who expected that released prisoners would immediately assimilate themselves into American society and open their own McDonald's franchise.

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Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Separated at birth

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