Sunday, February 19, 2017


Movie Name: Lion
Year of Release: 2016
Director: Garth Davis
Stars: Dev Patel, Rooney Mara, Sunny Pawar, Nicole Kidman, David Wenham, Abhishek Bharate, Priyanka Bose, Deepti Naval, Divian Ladwa
Genre: Drama
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 6
View Trailer Here

"Lion" is director Garth Davis' feature debut, following an acclaimed career as a commercials director, and his work alongside the phenomenal Jane Campion on the show "Top of the Lake". The film, based on a true story, focuses on a young boy, by the name of Saroo, who lives with his mother, brother and sister, in a remote and extremely poor village in India. Saroo and Guddu, both try to help the family as they can, by doing small tasks, and getting whatever pay they can. One evening trying to help out his older brother, Saroo goes with Guddu to get work at night, but ends up falling asleep. While looking for his brother, Saroo enters a decommissioned train, falls asleep, and much to his surprise in the morning, discovers the train has taken off and he's now miles and miles away from home. He finds himself in Calcutta, all alone, and unable to explain with precision where he's from. After a few mishaps he finds himself in an orphanage, and finally gets sent to Australia where he's adopted by a loving couple. Saroo grows up to be a well adjusted and dynamic young man, until he starts remembering the family he has back in India. This prompts a quest to find their whereabouts that totally consumes him.
"Lion" is a film with a fantastic premise, one where a young man manages to make contact with a life he thought lost forever, against all odds. It's a film that is sentimental and emotional, where there's a mix of "poverty porn" (where the camera almost revels in showcasing the poverty and destitution of some people), with a genuine aim to showcase the reality of people living below the poverty line. It's a film that has a heart, and that showcases that life does come with a surprising abundance of good people, who want to make a positive impact in the world. However, for dramatic purposes, it's a film that lacks in adding dimension to some of the supporting characters - Rooney Mara's Lucy has very little to do, the same going for David Wenham's John (who is even more in the periphery).  Dev Patel creates Saroo as a young man on a quest, a man who's thankful for what he has, but that is haunted by what he lost - and this is possibly one of his finest performances thus far. Nicole Kidman also gives a strong performance, but the highlight of the film turns out to be the young Sunny Pawar, who carries most of the first part of the film, and the cinematography from Greig Fraser, which is really stunning. It's an unbalanced film, something that the overtly dramatic and sentimental ending almost take to "film of the week" territory. There's still quite a lot to enjoy and it's a fairly strong debut.


Steve Rizzo said...

This is actually one of my favorite films this year. Deserves at least an 8 !!!!