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  • Writer's pictureGuy Jeffries

Lion Review

Director: Garth Davis.

TV and commercial director, Garth Davis gives an exceptional main feature debut with a touching true story about a young boy getting separated from his family and lost in Calcutta to then be adopted by a family in Australia at the tender age of five, who then has the sudden, obsessive urge to find his real family.

It's based on the published memoirs "A Long Way Home" by Saroo Brierley, the boy, now grown up man, who embarks on a mission to find the family he got lost from all those years ago. It tackles conflict of loyalty, love and determination, a truly heart-rending story, not just of Saroo, but of all involved.

It's superbly balanced, basically in two parts. Firstly the origin of separation, a Saroo at 5 years old going through a hellish ordeal of being completely lost, not understanding the language, hungry, tired and just wanting to get home. The second part being the adult Saroo, now fully integrated into Tasmanian society and surrogate family, leading a privileged life compared to the one he lost.

Young Saroo is played astonishingly by Sunny Pawar who manages to convey emotion and feeling with little dialogue. He's truly amazing, being totally believable and the chemistry he shares with the other actors is beyond incredible. He actually steals the show from the other leading actors, even though all give brilliant performances.

Dev Patel plays the adult Saroo, those emotional torment is different, it's still portrayed greatly, racked with guilt with a sense of possible betrayal for all involved. Not wanting to hurt anyone, but to fulfil his need to find his original family. Patel did a lot of research for his role, traveling to India to visit the orphanage and to ride the same train journey trying to imagine what nightmare it must have been for young Saroo.

Nicole Kidman was chosen by the real life Susan Brierley, the surrogate mother of Saroo and adopted brother Mantosh. Kidman and the film show just how remarkable the real Susan Brierley is, at first being kind and understanding beyond measure, brave and loving only to then become something greater when you discover her motives and reasoning. She's become an inspiration to myself.

Dustin O'Halloran and Volker Bertelmann, better known as Hauschka, compose a fitting score for the film, with strings conveying themes of loneliness, discovery and enlightenment in both child and adult. Sia's busy year of end credit songs doesn't end in 2016, providing another great track "Never Give Up" which includes ethnic music.

Davis does an exceptional job, directing names such as Kidman, Patel and Rooney Mara. He has a graceful, elegant style with brilliant use of light and composition. It's a tough story with perfect portrayals that embellishes the meaning of family, love and the maternal spirit. Really looking forward to see what Davis gives us next.

Running Time: 8

The Cast: 9

Performance: 10

Direction: 10

Story: 9

Script: 9

Creativity: 10

Soundtrack: 9

Job Description: 8

The Extra Bonus Point: 10 for Sunny Pawar's performance.

Would I buy the Blu-ray?: Yes

92% 9/10

Over 80,000 child go missing in India with an already population of 11million living on the streets. At the release of this movie, the film's production companies formed the #LionHeart foundation which will look to support these lost children of India. You can find out more or donate by clicking on the poster below.

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