Wonderful and Heartbreaking

“Hotshots” looks at a movie!

Slumdog Millionaire - Movie PosterSLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE is a gem of a movie by director Danny Boyle that is suspenseful when it shouldn’t be and uplifting when it is at its most depressing.

Of course, this could also describe the country of India, where the story takes place.

The film begins in 2006 as we see 18-year-old Jamal Malik being tortured by the police. Jamal is a “slumdog,” an orphan from the extreme poverty of the slums of India. And yet somehow he has managed to appear on India’s version of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” and unbelievably answered all of the questions correctly up until the last one, which will be asked that night.

The producers of the program suspect that Jamal is cheating, because how else could a slumdog possibly know the answers to all those difficult questions?

Jamal tells the police defiantly, “I knew the answers.”

Then in flashback we see the progression of questions as they were asked, and in further flashback we see the lives of young Jamal as a child and his older brother, Salim, and the event in their struggles just to stay alive that provided Jamal with the correct answer to the question.

At one point, they befriend a young orphan girl named Latika, and she joins the two brothers growing up, whom they refer to as “the third Musketeer” based on their having read the famous novel by Alexandre Dumas.

One of their life-changing moments was when they were all taken out of a garbage dump by a group of adults who claimed to be an orphanage, but in reality they exploited all the children under their control and taught them how to beg on the streets and the ways to get the most money.

However, when Salim discovers the horrible plans in store for Jamal, the two boys escape, but Latika can’t keep up with them, and she is left behind in the clutches of the adults.

In fact, one of the reasons that Jamal wanted to appear on the quiz show was in the hope that Latika would be watching and get back in touch with him.

The construction of the film is wonderful, the pictures are beautiful, but the stunts involving the child actors look terrifyingly dangerous, making you wonder how they were accomplished.

SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE is both wonderful and heartbreaking.

I’m Dan Culberson and this is “Hotshots.”