Lion

***

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Lion
"The film has a beginning, middle and end. You might call this predictable, or miraculous"

Flagged up with critical accolades in an attempt to silence opposition the lion's roar is muted. Why the gold plated reviews? Why the emotional outpourings? As a finding-my-way-home movie Rabbit-Proof Fence is more memorable.

True stories are everywhere now. Or should that be "based on"?

Copy picture

Sunny Pawar as the five-year-old Saroo exists in the realms of wonder. After cute there are realms and amongst the realms is wonder.

Health Warning: tears will well.

Saroo comes from rural poverty in India. There is no father in sight and his beautiful mother with teeth whiter than a TV advert carries rocks for a subsistence living while Saroo and his brother steal coal from the freight trains.

One day on an excursion to the local town Saroo falls asleep in an empty baggage compartment and wakes up in Calcutta 1200 miles away. Lost boy speaking a different language in overcrowded, dangerous streets belongs to Series One of the Hell On Earth boxset. How can he survive? Where will he go?

These questions are not answered but thanks to the kindness of strangers and a forgiving bureaucracy he finds himself in Tasmania adopted by an odd looking lady with a weird haircut (Nicole Kidman) and her too good to be true husband (David Wenham) in middle class suburbia.

Wow and double wow!

Saroo grows up into the perfect son (Dev Patel looking like Jesus on a good day) who goes to uni in Brisbane where he meets Lucy (Rooney Mara - what's she doing in this next to nothing role?) and discovers Google World. From then on he's on a mission to find his way home in the vast expanse of the Indian subcontinent where his memories flicker like the shattered shards of a mirror.

The film has a beginning, middle and end. You might call this predictable, or miraculous. It comes in two parts, Sunny's and Dev's. Each leaves holes in their fuselage.

Rookie director Garth Davies is too keen on flashbacks to keep his audience on side. Sunny has a smile that would melt The Ice Queen, while Dev's work in the gym has paid off (can this be the skinny kid from Slumdog Millionaire?) and Nicole's return to form is more than welcome.

Where's the lion?

Reviewed on: 06 Jan 2017
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Lion packshot
An Indian man who was adopted by an Australian couple as a boy heads off to find his real family.

Director: Garth Davis

Writer: Luke Davies, based on the book by Saroo Brierley

Starring: Dev Patel, Sunny Pawar, Nicole Kidman, Rooney Mara, David Wenham, Abhishek Bharate, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Priyanka Bose, Deepti Naval, Divian Ladwa, Sachin Joab

Year: 2016

Runtime: 129 minutes

BBFC: PG - Parental Guidance

Country: UK, Australia, US

Festivals:

London 2016

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