Eaten By Lions


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Eaten By Lions
"There are no surprises, no laughs out loud"

Half brothers.

One has an Indian dad, the other hasn't. One is tall, shy and handsome, the other small, disabled and clever. Their mother and the second dad are dead and now their beloved gran also. The teenage boys have been accepted, fostered even, by a middle aged, middle class, suburban couple in a cold, clean house where the atmosphere is suppressed and the air filtered through layers of antiseptic gauze.

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Where to go? What to do? They can't stay here.

Omar (Antonio Askeel) wants to find his dad. Pete (Jack Carroll) thinks, Omygawd we're going to India!

They go to Blackpool instead and don't have adventures. Not life changers, anyway. They lose their money, meet a mouthy girl beside an ice cream van who introduces them to her gross gay uncle who lets them use his spare room and then there's the camp fortune teller on the pier who points them in the right direction where Omar's relatives live. They turn out to be a dysfunctional bunch, especially Omar's father who behaves like a kid in a penny arcade.

As a comic fable the film follows the dotted lines. There are no surprises, no laughs out loud. Omar's character lacks charisma and Askeel's screen presence has been suitably watered down. Pete is the positive one and Carroll plays him to perfection. Hampered by legs that don't work he has the best lines and a look that is quizzical and cynical at the same time.

The script feels retro, despite a multiracial veneer, and Blackpool fits into this like a stick of rock in Auntie Mabel's memory box. You expect Tommy Trinder to pop his head round the door and the cast of On The Buses liberally sprinkled throughout.

No luck. They're gone.

What you have is a half smiley semi romp through a lost daddy tale of nice people and eccentric fools, aimed at those with a sweet tooth and others who don't understand that immigrant families are as mushy and messed up as the homegrown variety.

Reviewed on: 21 Jun 2018
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Two half-brothers head to Blackpool in search of lost family.


EIFF 2018

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