Friday, February 13, 2009

I walk out of Slumdog Millionaire

I've walked out of two movies.

I quit Dead Poets Society when it played up the romance of teen suicide. I was annoyed, and resented being manipulated.

I left Slumdog Millionaire, a currently fashionable movie, for two reasons. For one, my stomach hurt. I suppose that's a side-effect of not watching modern television. I don't have the stomach for the torture and mutilation of children.

For another, my exploitation alarm was ringing. I gather the movie becomes terrifically uplifting, but uplift is a relative thing. The director had set the stage very low when I gave up.

I now have sympathy for those Indians who are offended and irritated by the film.

Update: I'm not the only one.


Anonymous said...

I'm with you. I reviewed the movie here.
In addition to raising the bar of child abuse dramatized on screen, the movie portrayed a society that lacked even one person or group that cared about children. I've never been to India, but I can't believe that the people of Mumbai are universally self-centered and heartless.

JGF said...

Nice review. I didn't have trouble with scenes of poverty. I visited Calcutta in 1981, including the old train station. Indeed the running scenes reminded me of Bangkok water market I used to live in.

It was the mutilation and unrelenting cruelty that offended me. Poverty probably encourages certain sorts of cruelty (medieval Europe was fantastically cruel by our standards), but this was cruelty porn.

I was also bothered the Hindu/Muslim subtext. It brought to mind medieval tales of Jewish perfidy (eating gentile infants, etc) which were used to justify pogroms.

Bad stuff.

Incidentally, we're all familiar with now illegal psychology experimetns that demonstrated how brutal undergrads could be under the "right" circumstances. I wonder if this movie was some kind of a particularly nasty experiment...

Anonymous said...

I walked out as well and I have only done so with one other movie in my lifetime. I was devastated by the brutality, violence and mutilation and I continue to be dumbfounded by reviews saying this is a "feel good" or "uplifting" movie. My husband stayed and told me that while the ending does provide some hope for the two main characters it did not negate the horrors coming before it.

I fear for a world where people can witness those kinds of scenes and not be moved significantly enough to leave.