“Beautifully shot with great sensitivity to color by the cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantel, in both film and digital video, Slumdog Millionaire makes for a better viewing experience than it does for a reflective one,” says N.Y. Times critic Manohla Dargis.

“It’s an undeniably attractive package, a seamless mixture of thrills and tears, armchair tourism and crackerjack professionalism. Both the reliably great Irrfan Khan (A Mighty Heart), as a sadistic detective, and the Bollywood star Anil Kapoor, as the preening game-show host, run circles around the young Mr. Patel, an agreeable enough if vague centerpiece to all this coordinated, insistently happy chaos.

“In the end, what gives me reluctant pause about this bright, cheery, hard-to-resist movie is that its joyfulness feels more like a filmmaker’s calculation than an honest cry from the heart about the human spirit (or, better yet, a moral tale).

“In the past Mr. Boyle has managed to wring giggles out of murder (Shallow Grave) and addiction (Trainspotting), and invest even the apocalypse with a certain joie de vivre (the excellent zombie flick 28 Days Later). He’s a blithely glib entertainer who can dazzle you with technique and, on occasion, blindside you with emotion, as he does in his underrated children’s movie, Millions.

“He plucked my heartstrings in Slumdog Millionaire with well-practiced dexterity, coaxing laughter and sobs out of each sweet, sour and false note.”