The BFI London Film Festival has come to a close after another year of some striking and wonderful films. Some brilliant films have already screened in the first week. Here is part 2 of the LFF 2016 highlights…
LFF 2016 Unmissable
Tom Ford’s Nocturnal Animals is a sumptuous and tense film. The director keeps viewers captivated throughout. Ford’s wonderful directorial debut A Single Man would have many keen to know what he would do next in the cinematic sphere. Despite the recess, this sophomore picture does not disappoint. READ MORE
Martin Koolhoven’s film is unrelenting and unforgiving. Brimstone can be difficult to watch, but it enthrals nevertheless. Brutish and bruising, Brimstone is a thriller that does not know when to quit. But make no mistake, this is a good thing. READ MORE
Garth Davis’ Lion is a genuinely emotional drama with great performances from its cast. Lion is an affirming story which does not shy away from some harsh realities. A fantastic watch. READ MORE
LFF 2016 Best of the Rest
Paul Verhoeven’s Elle absorbs, entertains, and intrigues. After a lengthy break, Verhoeven reminds viewers exactly why he is a great filmmaker. Based on the novel by Philippe Dijan, Elle is a curious and rewarding feature. READ MORE
After the disappointing High-Rise, Ben Wheatley impresses with Free Fire. The film is contagiously fun. Writer-director Ben Wheatley and co-writer Amy Jump have created a very entertaining film with Free Fire. READ MORE
Alice Lowe’s black comedy Prevenge is a fun watch. A quirky premise is transformed into an entertaining film. Writer, director, and star Alice Lowe has created an off-the-wall dark comedy with Prevenge. The premise is original and amusing, and the film itself follows suit. READ MORE
Lake Bodom (Bodom)
Lake Bodom (Bodom) is a very entertaining horror-thriller. The film defies expectations, in a tantalising way. Director and co-writer Taneli Mustonen has created an interesting horror thriller with Lake Bodom. READ MORE
The BFI London Film Festival ran from 5th-16th October 2016.
Garth Davis’ Lion is a genuinely emotional drama with great performances from its cast.
After becoming separated from his older brother, Saroo finds himself alone on the streets of Calcutta. Dodging the danger all around him, Saroo is eventually adopted by an Australian couple. Years later, Saroo hopes to track down the family he was separated from…
Based on Saroo Brierley’s book about his experiences, Lion is formidable drama. Director Garth Davis handles his subject deftly. The film does not fall into the trap of sentimental, TV-movie style melodrama. Given the narrative, this could easily have happened. Instead, Davis gives Saroo’s story the weight and passion that it deserves.
Lion does not jump to Saroo as an adult, after a brief introduction. Instead, the film fully explores what Saroo goes through as a lost child. These events are given the time they deserve, and emphasise what a difficult journey he goes through. In a wider scale, these sequences uncover the perilous realities of street children in India.
Scenes later in the film exhibit the comfortable life Saroo lives as an adult. These serve as a stark contrast to his early experiences. Lion exhibits Saroo’s discomfort with his privilege, when considering his early years. His adoptive brother Mantosh functions to reveal the other side of international adoption. This character immediately struggles, and ultimately leads a troubled life. His ticks hark back to what is seen in the classroom, hinting at a sad underlying cause.
Saroo’s relationship with his girlfriend and family is impacted by his strong desire to find his home. The journey of the protagonist is depicted with thoughtfulness. Lion is emotional with good reason; it never feels overwrought. The film is beautifully shot, and the score complements the visuals well. Dev Patel offers a endearing performance as Saroo, whilst Sunny Pawar is appealing as the young version of the character. Nicole Kidman reminds viewers why she is such a successful actress with one scene in particular.
Lion is an affirming story which does not shy away from some harsh realities. A fantastic watch.
Lion is being screened at the BFI London Film Festival in October 2016.