“Over-Hyped But Interesting and Immersive” 6/10
I eventually got round to watching this film and found it intriguing. It had initially sparked my interest after it shot to fame at the Oscars, but I felt, possibly as a result of the hype surrounding it, that it fell a bit short of my expectations.
There are no terrible aspects of the film, but there were definitely features that far outshone others. Set in the slums of Mumbai, the filming is raw and honest, showing a vulnerable side to India. The story switches constantly between the past and present, gradually unravelling the tangled events in the life of Jamal (Dev Patel); however this constant switching distracted somewhat from the clever way in which the storyline is woven together, despite the fact that the revelation that past events all link to the current situation. On occasion I found it difficult to follow how one piece of flashback linked to the current scene, and at places in the middle of the film it felt slightly repetitive; thankfully, a balance of well thought through flashback links exists.
The flashbacks provide the best acting within this film, as the story is mostly enacted by young children who play their roles well. The relationship between Jamal and his brother in particular is demonstrated best through these younger actors. I found the love story aspect of the film to be somewhat less convincing however, possibly because I felt that this aspect was one of the biggest causes of repetition within the film and was rather predictable from the beginning.There is a distinctly cultural feel, as expected, which I think was the most interesting focus of this film. Many of the scenes, from within the slums, to the way the characters interact with one another, are unlike typical Western life, and are at time shocking. This was the most interesting concept of the film – the scope for thought and comparison between what different cultures consider “normal” life – and the film encapsulates you within this context.
An interesting watch with a good story, boosted mainly by the visuals of the film which help simultaneously cover the imperfections of the script and enhance the overall immersive feel. Ignore some of the hype and lose yourself in the unusual setting to allow the story to flourish.