A young man uses Google maps to try to find his biological parents after getting lost as a child many years ago. This is the paper-thin plot that had to carry audiences through this 2-hour movie, but for the most part it was sufficient. The plot is, however, also assisted by great leading performances, great directing by first-timer Garth Davis, great cinematography and a beautiful score.
The leading performances are very strong, and are a ips the most succesful part of this film. Dev Patel, newcomer Sunny Pawer, Nicole Kidman, and Rooney Mara all deliver beautifully subtle and realistic performances that bring so much life and emotion into the movie. Nicole Kidman and Dev Patel have one scene which should probably establish this film somewhere in movie-history. Rooney Mara and Dev Patel also have incredible screen chemistry that helps in establishing and pushing Patel’s character.
Garth Davis, a first-time feature-film director, seems so confident and comfortable with the scope of this film. Which is very commendable seeing as the film takes place in multiple decades, continents, and languages. But given a good camera and a strong cooperation with cinematographer Greig Fraser and Davis can underscore any scene with emotion captured in contemporary Australia or developing communities in India. The film’s score is also incredibly good at doing the same thing, with its melancholy touches.
This film’s major weakness, however, lies in the screenplay. It’s well-written and the pacing is not half-bad, but there just seems to be too little plot pushing this film forward. The slightly messy two-act story is not entirely satisfying and it doesn’t really feel like the audience gets enough of a chance to get introduced to the development of Patel and Pawar’s character. The climax of the movie, without spoiling it, is also just messy and incredibly uninteresting to watch. That said, the ending of this film does satisfy enough to make up for (at least some of) the poor plotting.
This film, which was nominated for an entire 6 Oscars, is definitely worth giving a late-afternoon watch. It’s not life-changing, genius, or especially inventive, but there is enough emotion to go around and the film is also just a feast for the eyes and ears.