The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox - 2008
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 121 Minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Audio Format(s): English/Hindi DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Dey Patel, Frieda Pinto, Madhur Mittal, Anil Kapoor, Irrfan Khan
Directed by: Danny Boyle
Music by: A.R. Rahman
Written by: Simon Beaufoy based on the novel “Q&A” by Vikas Swarup
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: March 31, 2009
"It is written"
Jamal Malik (Dev Patel) is just one question away from winning a fortune on India's version of "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?" But how has this uneducated young man from the slums succeeded in providing correct responses to questions that have stumped countless scholars before him? And will he ultimately win it all or lose everything, including his true love?
Jamal Malik (Patel), an 18 year-old orphan from the slums of Mumbai, is about to experience the biggest day of his life. With the whole nation watching, he is just one question away from winning a staggering 20 million rupees on India's "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" But when the show breaks for the night, police arrest him on suspicion of cheating; how could a street kid know so much? Desperate to prove his innocence, Jamal tells the story of his life in the slum where he and his brother grew up, of their adventures together on the road, of vicious encounters with local gangs, and of Latika (Pinto), the girl he loved and lost. Each chapter of his story reveals the key to the answer to one of the game show's questions. Each chapter of Jamal's increasingly layered story reveals where he learned the answers to the show's seemingly impossible questions. But one question remains a mystery: what is this young man with no apparent desire for riches really doing on the game show? Jamal returns to answer the final question, and the Inspector and sixty million viewers are about to find out why. At the heart of its exuberant storytelling lies the intriguing question of how anyone comes to know the things they know about life and love.
Adapted from the novel “Q&A” by Vikas Swarup, I thought that the way in which this story is told holds the key to its appeal. The depiction of life on the streets in Mumbai is no secret. Seeing it here was not a revelation but the nature of the telling had a visceral quality that was jarring at times. I think that at its heart Slumdog millionaire is a love story. The struggle for survival and how it shaped Jamal, Salim, and Latika was interesting to watch over the course of the movie. They were well drawn characters/people that you cared about regardless of their shortcomings. The film’s music and visual style played a large role in its telling. I can almost guarantee that you won’t be able to sit and watch this movie without unconsciously tapping your toes to its catchy music. While there were moments of suspense and a little action this is a character driven film that benefited from the strong performances of its young cast and the intelligent direction of Danny Boyle. I am not so sure about its Oscar win for Best Picture but I can vouch for its entertainment value. I thought it was well executed, thought provoking, and at times captivating to watch.
The rating is for some violence, disturbing images, including a scene of torture, thematic material and language.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Slumdog millionaire comes to Blu-ray Disc from Fox featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 29 mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 4.4 mbps.
This film has two distinct visual styles that both offer excellent high definition video quality. The story is told through a series of flashbacks that appear to have been shot on film. The sequences shot in the present appear to have been shot on high definition video. The film based flashbacks are sprinkled lightly with grain, have a dynamic visual aesthetic, stark contrast, and razor sharp clarity. Colors are bold, vibrant and deeply saturated. The video based sequences are smoother looking, with better contrast/brightness balance, crisp lines, and toned down colors that give it a cooler visual aesthetic. Fleshtones are on the bronze side but don’t appear unnatural. Images are highly detailed with transparent depth and fine articulation regardless of the camera’s perspective. Blacks are respectable but don’t have the rich, ink like depth that makes them appear infinite. Shadow detail is revealing and gives dark scenes and low lit sequences excellent dimension. The video has a pristine, high gloss finish that is enriching and at times visually arresting.
The lossless DTS-HD MA soundtrack was equally impressive. Its wide dynamic range can go from subtle, intricate control to full on blow you out of your seat dynamism. The film’s superlative music is center stage as it is broadcast over the entire system with high level detail, smooth, strident free treble, and an authoritative, pulsating low end that fills the room with deep bass. Dialogue is reproduced with supreme intelligence and prominent focus. Surround use is abundant as the mix generates a 360 degree soundfield that encapsulates the listening position. Panning sequences are seamless as the sounds of helicopters, airplanes or thumping instrumentation move throughout the soundstage. The music score is amazing as it is integrated into the sound design and helps drive the storyline. My kids were so impressed with the film’s music that they downloaded the soundtrack from iTunes. I felt that at times the presence of the music in the rear channels was too prominent and threw off the front/rear balance. This isn’t an overly aggressive mix but it makes excellent use of entire surround platform as it delivers an invigorating home theater experience. Be sure to turn this one up, sit back, and enjoy.
**CIH users should take note that the subtitles are in the picture area.**
- Commentary by Director Danny Boyle and Actor Dev Patel
- Commentary by Producer Christian Colson and Writer Simon Beaufoy
- 12 Deleted scenes
- Slumdog dreams: Danny Boyle and the making of Slumdog millionaire – 23 minute featurette
- (HD) Slumdog cut down – 5 minute feature
- From script to screen: The toilet scene – 5 minutes
- Indian short film: Manjha – 41 minutes
- Bombay liquid dance – video captures set to music ( 3 minutes)
- (HD) Theatrical trailer
- European theatrical trailer
- Digital Copy Bonus Disc – Standard definition version of the film that can be downloaded from a compatible PC to a portable playback device
Slumdog millionaire is a well crafted independent film that features a great young cast, incredible cinematography, and steadfast direction by Danny Boyle. It dominated this years Academy Awards which is a testament to its strength as a cinematic work. It tells a poignant and engaging story that is accompanied by a superb original music score that lingers long after the movie has ended. It comes to Blu-ray Disc day and date with the DVD release and features exemplary audio/video quality as well as a decent set of bonus features that includes Blu-ray exclusive content. If you haven’t seen it I can’t think of a better way to experience it. Recommended.
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