Plot: What’s it about?
The internet is…well, words can barely do it justice. Is there anything that we do in our daily lives that isn’t impacted by it? I think not. It’s hard to fathom how we managed to entertain ourselves and how much access to information we really had. It’s not all good, mind you, but the capability for anything you want is literally at your fingertips. And, ripped from the headlines, is the story of Saroo, a young boy separated from his family who used the internet (Google Earth, to be exact) to try and find his family. I can’t imagine how many times this has actually happened in the past and, I guess, a reunion would never happen? Nevertheless, Lion tells this story and tells it well. Nominated for Best Picture, this is the story of Saroo.
Lion is the true story of Saroo (Sunny Pawar, later Dev Patel), an Indian boy from a poor family. His older brother Guddu (Abhishek Bharate) and he are separated and Saroon ends up in a decommissioned train car that is then taken far from his home. He ends up in Calcutta and eventually encounters a social worker who arranges for him to be adopted by a well-to-do Australian couple (Nicole Kidman and David Wenham). Flash forward a quarter of a century and Saroo is now studying hotel management and dating Lucy (Rooney Mara). He’s never stopped thinking about his long lost family and a friend suggests that he use Google Earth to figure out where he once hailed from. This intrigues Saroo and he decides to see if he can find his family.
Even though it was nominated for Best Picture, I felt that this movie got lost in the shuffle. Lionsgate had two other “show ponies” with La La Land and Moonlight in the mix and, let’s face it, one of those was bound to win. And even though it failed to win one of the 6 Academy Awards it was nominated for, it was still nominated and with good reason. There’s no shortage of top notch talent here with Dev Patel leading the way and the always reliable Nicole Kidman and Rooney Mara in their supporting roles. The fact that it’s a true story only adds to the allure of this heartbreaking yet inspirational drama. It’s well worth a viewing.
Video: How’s it look?
The 2.40:1 AVC HD image is another feather in the cap of Lionsgate. Shot by Greig Fraser, who was Oscar-nominated for his cinematography, Lion maintains a very naturalistic-looking look and feel throughout. The movie has a lot of earthy tones juxtaposed with some more traditional scenes. Colors are used well and though the entire spectrum isn’t utilized, it feels as if it is. Detail is sharp, contrast strong and I saw no evidence of anything that would deter me from the film. A good, solid effort.
Audio: How’s it sound?
Lion’s score was also Oscar-nominated and it shows in this rich and full DTS HD Master Audio sound mix. Vocals are sharp and crisp while directional effects, used sparingly, are spot on. The front stage has most of the action, but the action in Calcutta is one of the highlights of this film. From the little nuances like moths flying and bicycles churning to some of the louder and more “present” sounds – this runs the gamut on sound. A fine effort.
Supplements: What are the extras?
- Deleted Scenes – Three total, though as per usual – none really added much to the film.
- Behind the Scenes Gallery
- A Conversation with Saroo Brierley – We meet the real Saroo who regales us with his story intertwined with some clips from the film. Seeing this made the entire film a lot more real.
- Dev Patel – We get a pretty candid interview from Patel who talks of his passion for the role and he’s equally praised by his co-stars for his efforts.
- Nicole Kidman – Kidman, who has two children who were adopted, also shows her motivation to play the part of Sue and how Sue herself was envisioning her in the role.
- Director Garth Davis – Davis tells us of the story in two parts “a yin and a yang” as he describes it and some of the themes that resonate within the film itself.
- Making the Music – Composers Dustin O’Halloran and Hauschka comment on their work and what it meant to them. We get some clips from the film to highlight some of their music.
- Music Video – “Never Give Up” by Sia.
The Bottom Line
Lion is a true story and it’s those that sometimes hit me the hardest. It’s inspirational yet upsetting at the same time. The film was justly deserved for its Best Picture nomination and the Blu-ray both looks and sounds good and offers just enough extras to warrant a purchase.