Best. Year. Ever. In my mind at least. Not because this year had particular good films (hell, I've been reading articles arguing that this was one year for mediocrity), but because I got to see nearly every movie for FREE, and, for the most part, EARLY. I'm not talking about the kind of free where you have to download a copy taken from a shaky cam on opening night. No! I'm talking about state of the art sound and picture quality, spacious conditions and reserved seating. Working at the Arclight, for all its negatives (incompetent management, prissy customers and caravans of celebrities that just wouldn't leave me alone [assholes, all of them]), not paying for a movie in the past three months has been unequivocal bliss.
There was a variety of trend-setting stories in films this year. The superhero ruled the box-office. Genre-film was making a comeback. Animation was setting the shape of things to come. Personal comebacks were flooding upon the sympathies of movie-goers. Retrospectives of our past mistakes in a now all-together different culture continue to hold up a mirror. And Clint Eastwood is still grunting. But what 2008 did was provide a change of our society's mood, our filmic discourse, or the state of our zeitgeist. While years in film often do that, 2008 was particularly special because, arguably, one film did that this year. So without further ado, I bring you the last of the lists of 2008. Good riddance, you douche bag of a year.
14. The Fall
Illustrious. Marvelous. Glorious. All words that the adventure/fantasy The Fall yearned to hear when released, but was instead met with reviews culminating to a phrase all resembling: "good but not great". While the film lacks that "wow" factor it so sorely intended to have, you have to admire the sheer audacity of director Tarsem and producers David Fincher and Spike Jonez to create a work of cinema with the intent to dazzle and amaze.
Still, we have a film that boasts gorgeous cinematography (the kind where each frame would look good propped up on someone's wall) and solid acting (Lee Pace continuing to be one of Hollywood's most promising young actors). All in all, I haven't seen a film this deliriously incoherent since Terry Gilliam's Brazil, a feat replicated by many but accomplished by few.
All's fair, leave no stone left unturned. This seemed to be the mantra for Bill Maher, the wise-cracking, no holds barred provocateur, who projected his out-right contempt for the what he sees as the irrationality of all religions in the Larry Charles' directed Religulous. While any criticism of religion still remains taboo in today's American society (remember when people kept saying Obama was a Muslim? This was a problem...why?), Bill Maher had no reservations walking up to a Church, Mosque, Temple (or any other mausoleum built upon as silly of a premise of a zombie God or a space warlord named Xenu) and spewing out polemic diatribes to people who generally refuse to listen. While Maher may be preaching to the choir (and some may argue that his film does nothing but fray the relations between religious and secular America), the end product still churns out a movie that is funny as hell (get it?! Hell?).
Admit it, everybody. If Jay Leno walked up to you on Sunset Blvd. and asked to explain the little intricacies of Watergate and the wickedness of Richard "Tricky Dick" Nixon, you would undoubtedly serve as folly for the American viewing public; who, ironically, also probably has no idea what the hell happened in that damned hotel. If you were born after 1968, sure, this is probably the case for you. If there is any reason why Ron Howard's Frost/Nixon, his best film to date (made directly after his worst film to date, The Da Vinci Code), deserves any of the accolades it is currently garnering, it's because it made something as convoluted, complex and, to many people, boring as Watergate and the sins of Richard Nixon into a David V. Goliath story of mythic proportions. Frost/Nixon (unlike another stage adaptation, Doubt) succeeds in effectively transforming the strengths of the original source material to the strengths of an altogether different medium; taking advantage of the visual fluidity that only a camera can possess.
Ron Howard, and screenwriter Peter Morgan, take large royalties when it comes to historical accuracies. Nevertheless, this fictionalized re-creation of history is so dramatized, so Shakespearean like, that one can look past that some things may be taken out of context for the sake of a cathartic reaction. In fact, that's one of the subsidiary points of the film: that the development and usage of the film medium can say so much more with the combination, of color temperature, lens aperture, and the appropriate use of the close-up. Frank Langella, a man over 6 foot-tall, plays the Hobbit-like figure who was Richard Nixon. Dazzling to say the very least, Langella doesn't do a Jamie Foxx in Ray impersonation, but rather captures the essence of Nixon (a poor, broken down man with Napoleonic complex) through the flow and power of both his rhetoric and reaction.
11. Waltz With Bashir
Years from now, when my child is on his 14th week of his/her first film course in college, (s)he is going to call me up and ask if I've ever seen a movie called Waltz With Bashir. I will unquestionably reply, "No shit, Sherlock. What do you take me for? Some sort of philistine? *Scoff*". Then my neglected offspring will tell me how the professor was saying where the public started viewing the tremendous possibilities that animation can bring to the medium of film that live-action narratives cannot--how the almost endless possibilities of animation, once thought to be limited and archaic, can say or express somethings that only the sharpest of storytellers and artist can recite. I will nod my head, and (s)he will, of course, see my expression (cause we're video conferencing through iChat [now in full-body hologram form! Thanks CNN!) and can tell that I am pretending that I know what (s)he is talking about. I'll say, "Well, that's interesting". (S)he will say how the film provided that much needed bridge between animation and reality, subsequently inventing a whole new sub-genre of serious animated films. During the end of the conversation, I'll think to myself, "God. Did I sound like that much a snob when I was at that age? If only I can go back in time".
10. Rachel Getting Married
It seems like anyone remotely interested in films has a quirky, pragmatic and poignant screenplay based directly upon their family and upbringing. By now, with all the Junos, Little Miss Sunshines and other descendants of the Tenenbaum clan, the last thing we want is another wacky movie about your family. Moreover, a wacky family movie shot in a "cinema-verite gone wild" style that has been so repeatedly used that we have grown more or less invulnerable by its implicit nausea. Did I mention that the backdrop of this film is a wedding? A wedding in which the black sheep of the family, who is also a drug dealer, comes back so wackiness can ensue? At first glance, skeptical can moonlight as a delightful little euphemism for being highly fucking suspect. Which is why it is so gratifying to find that, in the midst of all these old and tired filmic conventions, Rachel Getting Married turned out to be something entirely new and fresh; glimmering with the spontaneity and unexpectedness that life repeatedly throws our way.
This is the wedding movie for the newest of generations. Recovering drug addicts, interracial marriage (which the film, wisely, does not touch on one bit), broken families, diverse walks of life, and a groom singing Neil Young's "Unknown Legend' as his wedding vowels. The whole time, despite Anne Hathaway's tirade of lunacy, you can't help but wish you knew these people and you were at that wedding.
9. Man on Wire
Essentially, the making of the greatest artistic crime of all time. The film recreates, follows and retrospects on Philippe Petit, who, in 1974, assembled a band of misfits and merrymakers to help realize his guerrilla dream of crossing the gap between the World Trade Centers. Along with last year's King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters and 2006's Murderball, Man On Wire continues the trend in fascinating and informative documentaries that, on page, have unorthodox, or even mundane, subject matters, yet continue to be surprisingly entertaining. Man On Wire unfolds like we're watching a sequential and coherent retelling of a man's dream. From the interviews of the Petit and the crew involve, to the dramatizations that flow almost seamlessly with the archival footage, to the final act, where Petit (told mostly in pictures) dances across a tight rope between the (at the time) two tallest buildings in the world. The buildings themselves add to the surrealness of the event. Petit's act of guerrilla love ironically acts as the polar opposite to the tragic symbol off hate that was 9/11.
8. Burn After Reading
Let it be known: this will be the first time, in any place (blog or otherwise), that someone first put forth the idea for a new alcoholic drink called "The Coen Brothers". Check it out. Get some Hennesy, mix it with some dry scotch, ginger ale, with a half pint of lager, half pint of cider and a splash of black currant. The drink, much like the namesake, will undoubtedly be off color, with a combination of ingredients that wouldn't normally fit together; nevertheless, the drink, no matter what your intentions, will get the job done (i.e. get you really, really drunk). However weak this aforementioned drink analogy may be, the point is that the Coens' retain the striking ability to take genre elements that would generally not blend together and make it work. Burn After Reading, while it may look like somewhat of a shift to lighter territory after last year's No Country For Old Men, continues with the same dark and ominous palette; but instead of an amalgamation of neo-Western and horror characteristics, they've opted out for their traditional brand of "comedy". And, like Fargo and The Big Lebowski before it, there's only so much nihilism and uncompromising cynicism before the laughter becomes exceedingly uncomfortable. Burn After Reading is a movie about stupid people propelled into very serious situations, unfolding in a manner so non sensible and puzzling that the viewer can't help but laugh at its farce. JK Simmons' character, playing a high-ranking CIA agent, sums up the intended blatant nihilism the movie portrays:
"What did we learn, Palmer?"
"I don't know, Sir"
"...I don't fucking know either"
Wall-E is essentially R2-D2 (Ben Burtt designed both the sounds of R2-D2 and Wall-E) falling in love in a world foretold by An Inconvenient Truth, with themes akin to 2001: A Space Odyssey and sci-fi gleam that would put Blade Runner, Star Wars and Close Encounters to shame. Wall-E, in most reviews (including this one), has the profound honor of being compared to some of the most illustrious staples of film, but none of said comparisons can sufficiently detail the particular qualities that make Wall-E so spectacular, heart-rending, poignant, and all-together, utterly enjoyable.
Lest we forget, Wall-E is a fucking CARTOON. Like the previously mentioned Waltz With Bashir, Wall-E is an animated film that continually progresses its medium into something more by encompassing the qualities that finely tunes and hones the characteristics that make animation exceptional. Wall-E is most likely the riskiest project that Pixar Animation (a studio that has the habit of repeatedly topping itself) has ever embarked on. The film had to take a movie that, for the first 45 minutes, had nothing but bloops and bleeps, with the occasional show tune (provided by the soundtrack of Hello, Dolly!) and sell it to a market targeted toward children. Moreover, the flick incorporated themes of technological determinism, and while not as poignant or profound as Plato's "allegory of the cave", said themes can still be considered a detriment to include in a children's movie. Fortunately, Pixar has found that very small common grey area where children, adults and serious cinephiles can all mutually get along. It's a delicate calculation where the most positive uses of narrative and animation are taken advantage of so easily that one wonders why all studios can't do what Pixar does.
I'm still looking forward to the day where Pixar releases their first bad movie. It would provide a benefit to the film community to see what makes Pixar work by studying the film that didn't. Here's hoping, for our sake, that day never comes.
6. Let the Right One In
When I was working the Twilight premier in Sherman Oaks, I must admit, I was curious. Why were so many people, albeit very young people (90 percent of them being girls), so hyped up about a Vampire movie? The Vampire genre, though it may be one of the longest and most prevalent myths in variety of cultures, has had the life sucked (get it? sucked) out of its limp body for years now. Murdered by the dominant hegemonic subculture (i.e. Hot Topic, Goth, AFI), the power of the Vampire myth has been commercialized, overrun by flash, fashion, shitty music with a deplorable lack of the themes that made said myth so prevalent in the first place: alienation and unrequited love.
It was not a surprise to watch Twilight and see that it was nothing more than an episode of One Tree Hill, set up in an arbitrary backdrop to attract genre fans thirsty to cleanse their dry, blood-thirsty appetite. While the story in Twilight was very much conducive to the themes of the Vampire myth (Bella moves to Washington [alienation] and falls in love with a Vampire who can't F her without eating her [unrequited love]), the flick, and I assume original source material, instead focuses more on lovelorn one-liners and seductive stares.Twilight had me yearning for a Vampire movie that serves its myth and history justice. Essentially, after the clusterfuck of the movie I just saw, I wanted to see the 28 Days Later of Vampire movies. Then, seemingly out of no where, enter Let The Right One In, a Swedish film also based on a novel and directed by Tomas Alfredson, which turned out to be not only the best Vampire film in recent history, but also surpasses the construct that would make Let The Right One In merely a "genre movie".
The film, focusing on 12 year old Oskar (a pale, blonde boy who lives with his divorced mother, isolated from his drunk father, and is castigated by his social surroundings) and his relationship with Eli, who is also a 12 year old ("more or less") sexually androgynous "girl", with long and dark black hair, and is strangely impervious to the cold, wearning nothing but a large T-shirt to act as a dress. In the midst of all the blood, violence, and burning bodies, Oskar and Eli's tender love-affair remains at the heart of the picture, and gives this little genre picture the characteristic to make it palpable enough for the mainstream to digest. This isn't to say that everything we love about the gore and violence of Vampire lore is missing.
Director Alfredson and cinematographer Hoyte Van Hoytema depict a world stuck in isolation in the blistering cold and snow-covered concrete castle that is Scandanavia. The white-filled atmosphere with tones of grey develops a pallete that is conducive for the deployment of the inevitable blood red. Moreover, there are at least three scenes in the film that leave you gasping for air as your clench your pillow to your face. It would be impetuous of me to divulge those scenes in great detail, but I will say that it involves blood, cats, fire, more blood, and floating body parts under water that makes Jaws look like Mamma Mia!.
5. The Wrestler
While the film's title track is written by Bruce Springstein, Darren Aronofsky's fourth feature, ressurecting the career of the former "Next Marlon Brando" Mickey Rourke, is more like a Bob Dylan song. With a structure that stays in line with the simplcicity of narrative conventions, but boasts strong pride and confidence in its content, The Wrestler is decevingly simple, but has enough layers conducive to multiple viewings and higher meanings. With Aronofsky directing as if it was his first feature, the film neither brags or repents for its lack of cinematic flash or narrative style. The film rests on the shoulders of both the performances and the empathatic qualities of the viewer, not necesarrily mutually exclusive.
Aronofsky and Rourke paint a portrait of a man lonely, broken, and dissolute; self-admittingly selfish and sometimes manipulative with the inability to change even though that's the thing he wants most. The portrait is painted like a labor of love, so delicately and precise that every moment seems purely true and beguiling, subsequently making Rouke's character (Randy "The Ram" Robinson) just as empathatic, and decevingly good-natured and affable. Rourke's likability is implicit in his pain. He accomplishes a monumental feat in making something as esoteric and as specific as the wrestling industry universal enough for its audience to connect to.
Charles Bukowski, in his deep-seated deaftism, once wrote, "If you're losing your soul and you know it, then you've still got a soul left to lose". The Wrestler is about that very experience. About men, set in a world that has already predetermined their failing destiny, consistetly falling short of their boyhood dreams. It's about men who invest themselves in pain--so close to dying that they finally can start to live.
The most fascinating thing about Harvey Milk was just how ordinary he was. He was flawed, idealistic, funny, affable, and, like so many of us, knew the world that surrounded him could be, and should be, better. Somehow, this ordinary man who wanted nothing more to live free became the symbol of a movement, and ultimately an unwilling martyr for a broader cause.
There is nothing facetious when one says that Harvey Milk was an ordinary man. But then again, most people would assume that being something as positive and admirable as say...a community organizer...would never be tarnished by the quick tongues of wicked men (specifically ones with names that rhyme with Judy and Riuliani *nudge nudge/wink wink*). So forgive me for the clarfication. Rather, Harvey Milk's (who was also a community organizer) accomplishments are that more impressive, laudable, and down right inspiring.
Everything about the film pays homage to the collective spirit of Harvey Milk's life. Sean Penn is remarkable in his best role to date and Josh Brolin continues to be one of the fastest rising actors in Hollywood. Director Gus Van Sant selectively uses his usual stylistic tics from arthouse lore to present something more intimate rather than excessive, providing some of the best shots of this year (his use of reflections, especially one shot of a whistle, is one of the most innovative, thought-provoking and poignant shots in the discourse of film history).
The reason why Van Sant and, writer, Dustin Lance Black, achieved in a profound adaptation of the breathtaking life of Harvey Milk is because they understood that the definitive quality of Milk's life was the normalcy of it. While other proposed adaptations of Milk's story focused mostly on Dan White (his destined assassin), subsequently disgusing a life more ordinary into a political-thriller, Van Sant found the fine distinction between intimacy and grandiosity; seamlessly making Milk a story about the celebration of life, the sorrow of death, and the joy of love, all whilst also being the best political docudrama in recent memory.
In the end, we can only lament over the fact that someone like Harvey Milk has not risen in our period of turmoil, hypocrisy and intolerance. Harvey Milk, in the 1970s, a time of great indifference and moral ambiguity, was able to conquer the Christian Right, defeat a proposition that outright discriminated against the homosexual community, and gained an endorsement from both President of the Untied States (Jimmy Carter) and future conservative symbol (Ronald Reagan) to speak out for gay rights. Today, the Christian Right is rampant, proposition 8 passed with self-righteous delight, and Barack Obama remained mum on the issue of gay marriage. Such a shame that Harvey Milk isn't here to recruit them.
3. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
I recently found out that David Fincher was way past his 40s. This, for some peculiar reason, surprised me to the point where I searched for three different clarifications that David Fincher was, in fact, not a 29 year old fresh out of NYU Film. Why did this make sense to me? Maybe it's cause his previous movies, no matter how much I love them, lack a certain quality and authenticity one can only gain from maturity. I knew all this knowing that Fight Club was made a decade ago. I lost track of time I guess. Which makes it apropos that his latest work, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, a grand fable about a man who bends and breaks time by living backwards, is the film that made me realize that Fincher is older and wiser beyond his years.
Fincher's main gripe throughout most of his films is that there is something inherently unauthentic about the way he shoots. I guess the easiest way to sum it up is that Fincher always put style over substance (which is something I personally do not subscribe to, by the way). Critics usually point to Fincher's use of CG, claiming that his overall pallete consistently fails to add to the coherency of the final piece (i.e. "Alien 3 is too glossy", or "Fight Club matches its broken and tired rhetoric with the 'too cool for school'-esque attitude beind the camera", or "Zodiac fucking blows! PWNED. LOL!"). With that said, it's revealing, to say the least, that despite all of Fincher's guile and intentional trickery and attempt at artifice through the use of CG, Benjamin Button is his most profound, poignant, and outright beautiful movie he's ever made; to the point where even when you know the gorgeous sunrise settling on the cusp of the New Orleans bay is nothing more but photoshop deception, you really can't help but appreciate the moment and its intention.
Time, obviously, is of the essence, not just with the narrative but with the telling of the narrative as well. Clocking in at 2 hours and 40 minutes (five minutes shy of the neverending Australia), Button never felt like it was tedious, and that owning to the fact that Fincher uses his time wisely. Brad Pitt, in his most significant role of his career, serves as an adequate vessel and auspicious guide for the grand narrative. The film track's Pitt from an incubus of a fetus, to a middle aged 20 year old, a ravishing 45 year old, and finally a freshly baked, out of the oven 90 year old waiting in his death cradle. The film spans a large epoch of time, and yet, every piece is significant, important, and adds, or takes off, a layer to the grand tapestry that is Button's life.
The barrier that the Button must now hurdle to get to the echelon of history's great films is to try to live down all the Forrest Gump comparisons. While there are many, it doesn't take away from the sheer splendor of the film. What seemed like a practice in gimmicktry turned out to be a visionary statement, a distinctive musing on the ephemerality of life and death, and, ultimately, an all-together spiritually fulfilling voyage.
2. The Dark Knight
On July 26th, 2008, in my original review for The Dark Knight, I wrote:
"Almost every rousing review from the cesspool of the bloodthirsty 'intellectuals' we know as critics, mention two things: that Heath Ledger is a shoe in for a posthumous Academy Award nomination, and that The Dark Knight is a worthy addition to the myriad of American crime dramas. Stemming back all the way to the 1930s with Howard Hawks' Scarface, Americans have always had a penchant for the mafia, corrupted cops and anti-heroes. But as much as the Mafia has been part of the American mythos, comic books have had just as much of an impact on the shaping of American myths. While the public's fascination with the mob are slowly starting to wain (i.e. The Sopranos), viewers are looking elsewhere for their grand narratives. The "comic book movie" is now THE largest staple in Hollywood, with options being made on what studios think might be the next big thing, fanboys have been salavating from their mouths ever since X-Men hit big in 2000. However, it's not until eight years later, with Christopher Nolan at the helm of one of the most epic productions ever attempted, that someone finally nailed why comics, much like its mob-affiliated predecessor, have been so pervasive in American society."
Today, knowing that both the film and director Chris Nolan were snubbed by the Academy in this year's Oscar nominations, we can only hold more stock in the idea that the awards, accolades and praise are nothing more than temporary decorations. If anything, in the last few months, The Dark Knight has grown more pertinent, pervasive and important in the technique of filmmaking and the aesthetic discourse of cinema. Much like what The Godfather was to the gangster genre, The Dark Knight is the first to provide the superhero genre with a vision, one that was constantly suspenseful, hypnotic and thoroughly entertaining, all while walking the tightrope that connects magical realism with fabulism. Genre-defining and zeitgeist-setting, The Dark Knight shook us to our very core, making us question our ideological beliefs due to the fact that we want a rabid dog to remain victorious in his desire to light it up and watch it burn.
1. Slumdog Millionaire
The tide is changing. It started with the grim, harsh and often uninviting cultural texts such as The Departed, or even HBO's The Wire, culminated with the musing in moral ambiguity in No Country for Old Men and There Will Be Blood, and ended, this past summer, with the aforementioned number two pick, The Dark Knight. We get it. This society, or even this country, a place that remains the most affluent and fiscally successful (even in this climate) in the world, still sucks.
With Danny Boyle, a chameleon of an auteur, already tacking a barrage of subjects (Drugs [Trainspotting], Zombies [28 Days Later], Family [Millions], Sci-Fi [Sunshine]), makes his best film to date, and quite possibly one of the most entertaining masterpieces of the past few decades, Slumdog Millionaire. A film that break genre molds, a larger than life story about hardship, retribution, suffering, heartbreak, redemption, love and destiny, that not only provided an epilogue to the grim discourse of our country's path, but single handedly changed the tone to optimism and hope with the proper combination of the right music, joyous dance moves, and a kiss nothing short of spectacular.
I never thought I'd say that a movie centered around a game show originally hosted by Regis Philibin would also be, at it's core, Shakespearean, Dickensian, and whatever other author that is important enough have "ian" added to their names. I almost felt embarrassed anytime a patron at the Arclight would approach me and ask what my favorite film was this year. I would then have to explain what Slumdog was all about. It went something like this:
Patron: Slumdog Millionaire? Never heard of it.
Me: It's from the director of 28 Days Later and Trainspotting, if you've ever seen them?
Patron: Oh yeah! So it's kind of like that?
Me: Well, not exactly. It's kind of more...joyful? More like City of God than anything
Patron: City of God was..joyful?
Me: Well, not exactly. It's like...dammit, how do I explain it...
Patron: Well, just tell me what the damn movie is about, son.
Me: Ok. Well this kid who grows up in the slums is on the last question on India's version of 'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire'-
Patron: Wait. The Regis show?
Me: And the host doesn't believe he got so far because he's just a dumb slum kid, so he must be cheating. So the polic kidnap and interrogate him. And through that we see his life through flashbacks.
Patron: So it's a movie about 'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?'
Me: Not exact-
Patron: Can I get one for Max Payne?
Patron: Thanks, Kid.
Me: Have a good time Mr. Wahlberg.
Patron: Just call me Mark.
But Slumdog Millionaire is so much more than a movie about a gameshow. Much like what Boyle did in Trainspotting, where he delves right into unknown terrain, a subculture as abstruse as the drug world and makes it transcendent enough to relate to, Slumdog doesn't dive, but cannonballs into another subculture of sorts. The immense, disheveled and often ignored parts of India's deepest slums, and climbs out of it with extensive grace and uniforming humanity.
Every aspect of this film enters the bracket of near perfection, so pristine and confident in its techniqe and storytelling that filmmakers will be studying this for years to come. Boyle, in his years of experience with a variety of genres, knows how to press our buttons, hold us to the edge of our seats, and have us be part of a collective cathartic experience. His eye for what is visually transformational has never been sharper. Boyle shoots in the raw style he used for 28 Days Later and Trainspotting, adding a paradoxical irony to the fairy-tale like imagery. Narratively, he paints an intricate and abstract web of interrelations and interactions of fate disguised as chance, but finishes off the last stroke with a sweeping brush of coherent finality. The music provided by AH Rahman with contributions from M.I.A. drive the narrative forward, adding to a sense of a joyful culmination that the audience craves and longs for. And the actors, while all contributing a considerable risk from its conception (relatively unknowns and child actors for a large portion of the movie), all surpassed expectations and were perfectly casts. Most chiefly in the lead character's case, Jamal, played by Dev Petal with delicate intensity and an uncanny ability to evoke empathy with just the quiver of his voice and the compassion in his eyes.
Slumdog Millionaire isn't your typical fairy tale. While there is a happy ending, people suffer, are affected by irrational decisions and deal with the consequences, sometimes resulting in death. The hero isn't a Knight in shining armor, he's just a boy that lives day by day, paycheck by paycheck, but survives on what is often seen as foolish, immature and futile hope. The idea of hope, never more pervasive in our society than now, makes it more of a powder keg of emotions, rather than a simplistic fairy tale. It made us laugh, cry, cheer, boo, smile and cringe. But at the very end, when Boyle reveals the man behind the curtain, there is nothing but sheer joy and celebration sent down upon by the movie Gods. Slumdog Millionaire breaks our hearts, but, at its resolution, picks up the pieces and puts it back together.