“Lion” Review ✦✦✦✧✧

13 December, 2016

Director: Garth Davis
Screenwriter: Luke Davies
Director of Photography: Greig Fraser
Cast: Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman, Rooney Mara

Synopsis: Adapted from the book ‘A Long Way Home’ by Saroo Brierley, Lion recounts the story of a lost boy who ends up stranded in Calcutta miles away from home. After being adopted by a family in Australia, Saroo sets out to find the mother and brother he left behind in India.

Lion Review:

Bookended by gut-wrenching departure and arrival sequences, “Lion” is a profoundly inspiring story about one boy’s search for meaning in a life without closure. With an opening sequence told from the tiny perspective of a child, the film begins on the level of its young protagonist, presenting a reality where strangers are giants and home only exists in the heart within a confusing, poverty-stricken world.

“Lion” is a film of varying skill with an emotional rollercoaster that jitters to a standstill in its puffy middle portion as Nicole Kidman’s snivelling amateur dramatics destabilise the pragmatism of the Calcutta abandonment. The story sees a bizarre transition as shaky time jumps and hurried character arcs make the scenes in Australia noticeably fluffy in comparison to the raw and perfectly realised slumdog segments. Despite the key points from the real story always being upheld, “Lion” is undoubtedly lazy in its presentation of Saroo’s personal drive and the struggles he faces while living with his adoptive family, although his second life is still the necessary filler in a movie that stretches the story in a bid to convey the passage of time and the pain of uncertainty.

In keeping with the charismatic young Saroo, Dev Patel plays the adult role with a surprising amount of charm and “Lion” turns him into a much more bulked up and fleshed out actor than we have been privy to in previous films. The movie’s standout talent, however, is newcomer Sunny Pawar whose high-pitched Hindi voice and adorable cherub face is just about the cutest thing you could ask for in a movie about a street kid searching for home. Handpicked on-location to play the infant Saroo, Pawar was purposefully chosen for his adorable features and he’s a clear symbol of innocence in the film’s strongest moments.


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