Warning - This may contain Spoilers
Well, I have finally found the time to go and see "Slumdog Millionaire". What can I say that hasn't already been said about the film, especially since its 8 oscar haul last week? Probably nothing original, but for what its worth, here's my two penn'orth.
I thoroughly enjoyed it. Yes, its about a quiz show, but actually it isn't about the show as much as you might think. What you're most interested in is what the film shows you about the hero, Jamal's life, which put him in a position to be able to answer the questions on the show itself. After what I'd heard and read about the film I found it interesting that possibly the biggest villain in the film is the question master. If you haven't seen the film I can promise you that this guy is VERY different from Chris Tarrant ! The last film I can remember with a crooked question master in a game show was Arnold Shwarzenegger's "The Running Man". Of course, that was set in the future, and the show itself doesn't exist in real life, thank God. Out of interest the host in "The Running Man" , Killian, was played by Richard Dawson, the real life presenter of "Family Feud" , the US original of "Family Fortunes". Small world.
I'll be honest, when I heard that the film was centered on the Indian version of "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire ? " I really didn't want to go to see it. I would be lying if I didn't admit that I still feel a certain amount of shame at my own performance on Millionaire, and so the thought of the flashbacks that this might bring on made me think twice. However when my line manager at work explained to me a very rough outline of the first half of the film or so, then my interest was raised. I'm glad that I went. Yes, in the end the film is a fantasy, but its a fantasy with an attitude, and huge patches of dark as well as light.
Is it the best film ever made about a game show or a quiz show ? Well, it hasn't really had that much competition. After all, what have you got : -
The Running Man ( fictional murderous game show of the future )
Quiz Show - the story of the real life quiz show rigging scandal in the USA in the 1950s
Starter for Ten - based on David Nicholl's humourous novel about an appearence on University Challenge
Public Domain - I haven't seen this one myself, but my sources call it a black comedy where contestants win money for having the most pathetic life. The contestants don't even know they're playing - shades of "The Truman Show".
The success of the film moves me to ask whether we're going to be inundated by a glut of gameshow based movies. Just in case I have prepared some helpful titles: -
Fifteen to One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
All About Eve-ry Second Counts
A Beautiful Mastermind
and of course
The Man With the Golden Shot.
You heard it here first.