armchair cultural observation since 1995

Slumdog backlash

“Slumdog isn’t a terrible movie, but it’s sappy, suspense-free, and packed with one-note characters, including a female lead who’s more object than person. In terms of violence, it’s grittier than most similar pictures, but mostly in a desperately “edgy” way that seems designed to gloss over its blatant sentimentality. The best you can say about it is that it’s stylish schmaltz.

Danny Boyle, who made his name directing the gonzo drug picture Trainspotting, is a consummate stylist, and Slumdog’s best moments are the flashy, setpiece montages Boyle’s created out of subconscious blasts of film and high-energy pop music, including several tracks by acclaimed international hip-hop act M.I.A. But briefly exhilarating as these sequences are, they’re not movie moments, they’re music videos, and they don’t make a movie.”

-Peter Suderman, Culture 11

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