Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

Leave a comment


Hotel Mumbai, rated R

Hotel Mumbai is an intense film about the November 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India that lasted four days. The film is well made and acted, but has a significant amount of violence and adult language (much of it appearing in subtitles). The film is directed by Anthony Maras, and written by Maras and John Collee (Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, Happy Feet). The film is based on hundreds of hours of interviews with survivors and witnesses of the attacks.
We see ten Lashkar-e-Taiba (a Pakistan based terrorist group) Muslim jihadists approach Mumbai in small boats. Armed with assault rifles, grenades and improvised explosive devices, the young men split up in taxis and begin to carry out their twelve planned shooting and bombing attacks across the city, that will eventually last three days. They get their direction via earpieces from their handlers in Pakistan and are told that Allah awaits them in paradise. The Mumbai police force is completely unprepared to deal with an attack of such magnitude, and backup forces are 800 miles and hours away in Delhi. Continue reading

Leave a comment

My Review of Lion

lionLion, rated PG-13

Lion is an emotional, visually stunning depiction of a true story. Don’t miss it on the big screen!

This low-budget film ($12 million) is directed by Garth Davis in his debut as director of a feature film.  It is written by Saroo Brierley, adapted from his memoir A Long Way Home, the true story of his own search for his childhood home. The film was originally going to have the same title as the book on which it is based.

The screenplay is by Luke Davies. The film has received six Oscar nominations – for best picture, supporting actor (Dev Patel), supporting actress (Nicole Kidman), writing, adapted screenplay (Luke Davies), original score and cinematography.

The story is told in two parts and in India and Australia, beginning in 1986. Five year-old Saroo is portrayed in an incredible performance by Sunny Pawar. He and his brother Guddo (Abhishek Bharate) are two poor boys growing up in rural India who support their family by stealing coal which they use to buy milk, and scavenging trains in their West Bengal village. One night they become separated, with Saroo finding himself alone on a train heading to Calcutta, a thousand miles from home. We feel the desperation, fear and loneliness of this five year-old boy who is lost in a country of over a billion people.

For the remainder of the film Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire) portrays Saroo. Eventually Saroo is placed in a very crowded orphanage, and then adopted by two Australians, Sue Brierley played by Oscar winner (The Hours) Nicole Kidman, and husband John, played by David Wenham. Kidman was handpicked by the real-life Sue Bierley for her part. It is Kidman’s first on-screen role as a mother of an adopted child. In real life she’s the mother of two adopted children. The couple would later adopt another son, Mantosh (Divian Ladwa), who had emotional and later substance abuse problems. The film doesn’t say that the Bierleys were Christians, however they did demonstrate Christian love to the boys and Sue mentions that she has been blessed by the boys.

When Saroo is in his 20’s, he begins to have flashbacks of his native land and he becomes obsessed with finding his family (mom, brother and younger sister).

This film explores some great themes such as identity, family, adoption, and origin. It is beautifully filmed, with a powerful music score, and is an emotional experience. It contains superb acting from just about every major character in the film (Pawar, Patel, Kidman, Wenham and two-time Oscar nominee Rooney Mara, who portrays Lucy, not a single real-life character but a compilation of several of Saroo’s real-life girlfriends).

In India, over 80,000 children go missing each year and there are over 11 million children living on the streets. For how to help, go here.