About – Young Saroo (Sunny Pawar) gets lost on the streets of Calcutta, India. He survives many challenges before being adopted by a couple in Australia. Twenty-five years later, Saroo (Dev Patel) sets out to find his lost family.
Lion a biography drama about Saroo who lost his family while trying to get home, is a true story that captivates the challenges one might face. In this instance, in India this is still a growing issue. Lion delivers a superb realistic vision of a life, that us in the west can only imagine.
Lion has one of the best opening sequences that I have endured in a long time. The cinematography was stunning, the work that Greig Fraser (cinematographer) has done here is breath-taking. From the establishing shots to the chaotic rush in train stations, it’s what any director wishers for. Greig has done a brilliant job at finding the right consistency in portraying the loneliness that Young Saroo is in but also the madness that he goes through.
After a splendid opening sequence, we are afraid that these establishing shots will end. Thankfully, they don’t and they carry on throughout the film even up until the very last scene.
As the film is cut between Young Saroo and mid-20-year-old Saroo we are given two fantastic actors.
Firstly, Young Saroo portrayed by Sunny Pawar. It’s his first appearance in film and what a performance that this young one has done. Obviously, as a child actor you don’t have the skills as a professional but you must start somewhere. Sunny occasionally forgets to not consider the production crew’s direction and the camera, this only happens a few times but nothing too much to take us away from the realism that this young boy brings.
Secondly, Saroo as a young adult portrayed by no other than Dev Patel. Dev has worked on some amazing films such as Slumdog Millionaire (2008) and Chappie (2015) but for us British folk we’ll still remember him from Channel 4’s teen tv series Skins. Dev has done it again in this brilliant, heart wrenching drama. You are emotionally gripped from the start through Sunny but when it comes to Dev you are thrown into this emotional mess, because of Dev’s performance.
Other big name actors such as Rooney Mara, David Wenham and Nicole Kidman also bring a big influence within the film. As these are supporting roles, I won’t go into detail about their character. As their characters are big influences on Saroo it would be unfair to spoil how they are influences. However, all three play a huge part in Saroo’s life.
The use of non-diegetic sounds can make a film less realistic and can take us away from what it is happening in and around the scenes. However, within Lion the non-diegetic sounds are taken away and we are left with only the diegetic sounds. This lets the frame breath, especially when we are presented with Young Saroo trying to find home. There is one powerful scene where Young Saroo is standing in an empty train station and all you can hear is dogs barking through the night. These scenes happen throughout the film, it doesn’t make the film drag but enhances the situation that we are forced to view. This lets the film and us breath through scenes.
Lion ends with the real Saroo, his mother and tells facts about the situation in India. This type of ending has all been done before. However, right at the end of the credits there is a small charity offer. With the circumstances, it is understandable. We need to change the way we adopt but also the whole living situation in India especially in the slums to keep families together, but also safe from the evil businesses with child kidnapping.