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Slumdog Millionaire (2008)


Commentaries on this disc:

Commentary 1: Director Danny Boyle and actor Dev Patel Rating:7.7/10 (3 votes) [graph]Login to vote or review
Reviewed by Bickle, T. on April 13th, 2009:Find all reviews by Bickle, T.
An average track. Given Boyle’s other insightful tracks (28 Days Later, Trainspotting) I was hoping for more interesting info. Boyle wants to give Patel a fair amount of speaking time, although Patel has little to add.
The talk mostly about scenes they cut, which you can find in the deleted scenes. I did like the explanation of MIA’s “Paper Planes”, and how they originally intended to fit it into the film.
Reviewed by openingcredits on May 28th, 2020:Find all reviews by openingcredits
It’s really fun to listen to this one from the year 2020, because the film went on to win an academy award, and Dev Patel obviously became a huge star, but this was recorded before any of that happened, so we get to listen to these two filmmakers talk about the making their movie, and it feels like we’re clued into something that they’re not yet. And that’s beautiful, because at one point, the director asks Dev Patel “what’s next for you? what’ve you got going on?” and Dev is like, “we’ll see – I don’t know!”

Overall this is a really well-rounded commentary. They go over most aspects of the filmmaking, including directing actors, non-actors, kids, shooting in crazy conditions, kind of guerrilla style in locations that were absolutely NOT shut down for the production. They speak about the editing style of the film, ideas behind the costume design and the music – they pack a lot in here.

And Mr. Boyle not only talks about making the movie as an artistic venture, but also as an accessible piece of storytelling, and how they made some decisions in the filmmaking for specifically western audiences to be able connect with the characters in the film despite their historical intolerance for subtitles and films from other places in the world, and, frankly – the racism built in to the western perspective. He talks about navigating that.

To the filmmakers’ credit, Mr. Boyle speaks about fighting to keep the first third of the film in Hindi, to preserve the authenticity and believability of the world, which the financiers were arguing against – in fact I think they mention they were under contract to make the film entirely in English. Very sweet and informative.
Commentary 2: Producer Christian Colson and screenwriter Simon Beaufoy Rating:10.0/10 (1 vote) [graph]Login to vote or review
Reviewed by iwantmytvm on August 10th, 2020:Find all reviews by iwantmytvm
Colson and Beaufoy provide an undercard commentary that is nonetheless informative. They do fall silent a bit more often towards the end of the film, but the gaps are not ghastly. Naturally, they talk about adapting the book throughout the track. They speak about filming in Mumbai, with the intent of showing its history and evolution, depicting the city as a character. Beaufoy incorporated some of his observations about India when he visited prior to filming. They were able to gain permission to film at the Taj Mahal, an opportunity which is not often granted. They are complimentary of the music and sound design and music, how it fits together as well as the challenge of recording sound in a busy city.
Structurally, they are pleased that the flashbooks and shifts back and forth in time worked so well. Much of the editing resulted in including less of the game show segments as these tended to overpower the rest of the film. They had the support of the Who Wants to Be a Millionaire show, but could not depict it in a detrimental light. In writing the questions narrative, Beaufoy sought to upend the structure he had established on some questions to surprise audience expectations. He wanted to undermine the importance of money, in a film about winning money. He felt that it was a love story, so he wanted to write a film without cynicism, in the Bollywood style. Some of his later tweaks to the script were to fortify the Jamal character, making him less passive.
They are relieved that the shifts in tone and mood work in the film, moving from violence to light and playful, humor never feels forced.
Boyle wanted subtitles that would stand out when they opted to use Hindi dialogue rather than English which led to the challenge of finding local young actors who could speak English. Beaufoy observes that the best actors have more white in eyes, the sclera, and allows them to be more expressive. The end credit dance sequence was originally end to the film but they moved it after suggestions from a preview screening.