Great Oscar Scenes: Slumdog Millionaire

In the run-up to the Oscars we are going to look at some super scenes from Academy Award-winning movies. Let’s start at the finish, with this great train sequence from last year’s Best Picture.

Slumdog Millionaire was last year’s unstoppable awards locomotive – once it got up and running it just steamrolled over every other contender. So it’s perhaps fitting that arguably the movie’s stand-out piece is on a train. The mode of transport is a constant symbol in the film (click HERE for a interesting analysis of trains in Indian cinema) and here it is used to explore the bond between brothers Jamal and Salim, the heart and soul of Danny Boyle’s splendid film.

Montages are often just a lame way, in the words of Team America, to ‘remind everyone what’s going on’, but Boyle has other ideas in this sequence. Proving that style and storytelling can mix, he weaves some magic as his kids perfect the art of the hustle.

The choice of song (Paper Planes by MIA) is also perfect and Boyle obviously had it in mind for a long time, as his recorded annoyance at its use in the trailer for Pineapple Express, before Slumdog was released, illustrated. In years to come, however, people won’t be thinking of Seth Rogen when they hear this song. They will be thinking of the thrilling and dangerous journey they were taken through by the 2008 Best Picture.



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