With high rise buildings, a misty grey sky and the sounds of dogs barking in the background, we are brought into the world of the teenage boy, Omar (played by Antonio Aakeel), whose life story the film will document.
“Flashbacks also play an important part of the films structure as tragic memories come into focus”
At a first glance Omar’s new life in foster care after his parents were eaten by lions doesn’t appear to be everything he expected it to be. His ‘family’ fails to treat him as well as his younger brother, Pete, a boy with a disability. Despite their new parents’ unequal treatment of them, (particularly for discrimination reasons- the colour of Omar’s skin for one thing) the brothers show themselves to be close friends, having both lost their parents and now their grandmother (who raised them) from old age, they’re really all each other have. Flashbacks creating nostalgic undertones show just how much Omar misses her. Flashbacks also play an important part of the films structure as tragic memories sometimes come into focus.
“Pete confirms his immaturity and establishes light humour in a rather serious film”
The younger one, Peter (Pete- played by Jack Carroll), is presented to be slightly ‘dopey’. Omar is presented as the more responsible of the two and acts as Peter’s ‘carer’, trying his best to get them somewhere to live. Pete’s simplicity, as the film goes on, tends to get him in trouble. This causes comic moments to arise. In a search for Omar’s real father, they meet a girl of a similar age at Blackpool beach, and end up being taken to her uncles’ B&B, another place where they are not entirely welcomed in as people in need. It seems as though nothing is in their favour. A revelation of character moment comes in when Omar tells Pete “you can come if you don’t steal” emphasises his younger age and simpler state of mind. As he also mimics his grandmother’s voice, Pete confirms his immaturity and establishes light humour in a rather serious film. Visiting a fortune teller also highlighted their desperation for some kind of answer in response to their family’s uncertain future.
“Another tender moment occurs at the films end where Omar and his real father mull about their complicated lives, opening up about how things were and how they now want things to be”
Perhaps one of the most heart- warming moments is when Omar reassures Peter that he will never leave him. This emphasises their true bond despite how different they are personality wise. The northern accents of the characters and the Indian music (as Omar arrives) also creates a kind of collective identity- something that didn’t exist at the beginning. Another tender moment occurs at the films end where Omar and his real father mull about their complicated lives, opening up about how things were and how they now want things to be. No matter what challenges arise, Omar and Pete will always be together and nothing can break them apart.
Featuring supporting roles of Nitin Ganatra (EastEnders) and including romantic undertones, comic dramatic and queer moments here and there, ‘Eaten by Lions’ is a film that challenges the true meaning of family and what it is to have a family bond, pushing aside the factors of discrimination that momentarily arise.
Featured Image courtesy of Do Not Bend Productions and Wingarm via IMDb