Tuesday, 13 June 2017
Lion film review
IMDB says A five-year-old Indian boy gets lost on the streets of Calcutta, thousands of kilometers from home. He survives many challenges before being adopted by a couple in Australia. 25 years later, he sets out to find his lost family.
In this Garth Davis (Alice, P.I.N.S.) directed film, adapted from the book A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierley and screenplay by Luke Davies (Candy, Life), Sunny Pawar (Love Sonia, Drive) stars as the young Saroo and Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire, TVs Skins) as the older Saroo.
When Saroo is separated from his older brother Guddu (Abhishek Bharate: Love Sonia), his mother Kamla (Priyanka Rose: Gulaag Gang, Guzaaarish) and little sister Shekila (Khushi Solanki in her first film), he ends up miles from his home in Calcutta, a place where they speak a different language. After sleeping rough for days and a close escape from a shady couple, Noor (Tannishtha Chatterjee: Parched, Brick Lane) and Rama (Nawazuddin Siddiqui The Lunchbox, Gangs of Wasseypur), he is taken to a home for unclaimed children. When Mrs Sood (Deepti Naval: Leela, Memories in March) selects him for adoption by a young couple in Tazmania, John (David Wenham: 300, Van Helsing) and Sue (Nicole Kidman: The Others, TVs Big Little Lies) Brierleys, where he is brought up in a loving home. He even gets an adoptive sibling, Mantosh (Keshav Jadhav in his first film) from the same orphanage.
Years later, when he goes to University and meets his girlfriend Lucy (Rooney Mara: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Carol), he is beset by memories of his lost family and sets out to search for them. His guilt drives a wedge between them, including his adoptive brother Mantosh (Divian Ladwa: Detectorists, 8 Minutes Idle), and he leaves his job determined to find who he is.
This is such an emotive film. From the top-notch performances to the stunning backdrop of two scenic continents, it delivers. With the universal theme of identity and the fact that it is based on the true story of a real life, you run the entire emotional journey along with him.
A mesmerising performance by young Pawar in the first act which tugs at your heartstrings as he gets deeper and deeper into trouble, fending off would-be predators and losing hope that he will be reunited with his family.
Patel is the heart and soul of the film giving a powerful portrayal of a man searching for his place in the world, not complete until he has all the answers to his identity. Kidman, Wenham and Mara excel too and there is not a moment where the film seems to drag. There are many scenes that will have you crying like a baby, so definitely remember to bring a stack of tissues. It will live in your mind far beyond the closing credits.
Trivia: Dev Patel had to develop a new physique to portray Saroo and attended several hours in the gym in order inhabit his part. He also grew a beard and developed an Australian accent (with Tasmanian dialect), visited Saroo Brierley's orphanage in India and wrote a diary while he took the original train ride that Brierley accidentally took as a young child. In total, he spent eight months preparing for the role. The 8-year-old Sunny Pawar was originally unable to attend the US premiere because he was denied a visa. Producers of the film made an appeal to Homeland Security, after which Pawar and his father were allowed to come to the US. Google helped the production and gave the crew access to their satellite imagery to use in the film, providing them with versions of Google Earth from the correct time period, and providing a lot of technical support in order to shoot scenes featuring google in-camera, which saved the production a VFX budget.
Tagline: The true story of a life lost and found. 9.5/10
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