Why did you create me? The plaintive question adorning National Theatre Live posters may echo critics’ question about the need for yet another in a long line of Frankensteins. Previous Frankensteins and monsters have been entertaining but less socially relevant. The National Theatre’s production, as directed by Oscar-winner Danny Boyle, to use a cliché, is Alive!
Perhaps Slumdog Millionaire is an elaborate, cinematic version of Bobby Jindal. Perhaps Western audiences have so deeply appreciated Boyle's film because it subtly reiterates a symbolic order that is as familiar as colonial conquest.
Unlike comic book superheroes, Slumdog hit a bit closer under our bellies with our eyes wide shut. Yet, now that “we” have had our eyes opened, will “we” place Third World poverty into another, more entertaining box?
Unlike previous years, where classics came crawling out of the celluloid woodwork with regular reckless abandon, 2008 was more calm… and considered. That's not to say that choosing 30 top titles was hard. The difficulty in placing them in some manner of rank order suggests the actual depth of quality involved.