Sunday, 26 February 2017


We all wanted to run away from home one time or another, but few of us attempted it. Even fewer of us did it accidentally. But what would happen if you got lost, ending up thousands of miles from your home and family? This is Lion.

Over 80,000 children are lost in India each year. A terrifying and shocking statistic but Lion just looks at one example. After young Saroo (Sunny Pawar) is separated from his brother Guddu (Abhishek Bharate) at a train station and ends up on a train travelling away from home, he becomes lost and alone. He remains calm and rides the waves of chance that take him from one temporary home to another before being flown out to Australia to be adopted by Sue (Nicole Kidman) and John (David Wenham). Jump forward 20 years where Saroo (now Dev Patel) has made a home and a family for himself, but whilst he has gained a family, back home his mother has lost one.

Lion takes on two adventures: one away from India, and one back. Despite an incredible performance from Patel - who is easily the best thing about the second act - the journey to find Saroo’s family is flawed. The pace drops completely, which is understandable considering most of Saroo’s searching is through scrolling on Google Earth, but there’s also awkward and under-explained tension between Saroo and his adoptive brother Mantosh (Divian Ladwa). However, the first act is a moving, beautifully shot journey into the unknown. Sunny Pawar is an exceptional young talent and displaying a huge range of emotion and skill despite his age.

At this point, one needs to return to Dev Patel's performance as a 20-something year old Saroo. From humble beginnings on Skins, Patel has come a long way. Despite the clunky execution of the second act, Patel does an incredible job with what director Garth Davis gives him to work with. This is easily his best work; it is captivating and powerful, overcoming the issues of an awkward transition into the present day. The other success of Lion is its cinematography. Throughout, this moving story is captured beautifully by the camera - the landscapes of India and Australia, both rural and urban, have hardly looked better. It captures the intention of each scene, causing disorientation for the audience when Saroo is panicked, or creating calm when things are more serene. 

Lion is an emotional film, but one that lacks a satisfying climax. For such a large build up, the resolution is underwhelming; a bit more time spend on the conclusion and a bit more time spend on developing relationships in the second act would have benefited the movie massively. But altogether, a warm and touching tale of one boy’s journey home.

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