Daniel Nava reviews “Lion” on Chicago Cinema Circuit


Garth Davis’ Lion details the dark pilgrimage of a young man. He’s displaced and irredeemable from any lost and found, haunted by a past that,  with every passing year, has left him knowing less than before. It’s a tale of two films, one involving the riveting passages of Saroo (played by newcomer Sunny Pawar) in India’s West Bengal state. He lives in abject poverty yet possesses a rambunctious energy in the presence of his mother and older brother Guddu (Abhishek Bharate). Guddu and Saroo are first observed scouring moving trains for coal, stealing as much as they can carry, and bartering for pouches of milk. Yet the two are separated, with Saroo waking up on a moving train, isolated in a locked cart as it roars through Calcutta. Sleeping in train stations along with other forgotten children, Davis palpably conveys the anxieties of being lost through traditional modes of storytelling and a persuasive craft that immerses his audience in Saroo’s headspace. We see young Saroo’s narrative come to a close as he enters a Dickensian orphanage, where his search for his mother and brother fails to yield a response. Saroo is left to accept an adoption proposal by a family residing in Australia, with the promise of a more auspicious future sold to him.



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