[Review] Davide Melini's Short Film 'Lion'

Domestic violence is no laughing matter, and this film portrays the horrors of it quite well.

After the opening credits we are presented with a cabin in a wintry forest setting as screams of anger, and a child crying are heard. This really helps set the overall mood for the rest of the short, especially with the dark, washed out look to portray the dark, moonlit, wintry night.

When we finally get a glimpse inside the cabin, it’s at a glance between flipping channels on a television. Empty beer cans and cigarettes cover the table, before it finally cuts to a child’s bedroom.

As the camera closes in, we see the signs of abuse, clear on their face, as evident by the discoloration around their eye, and tears around their eyes. Posters of lions line the child’s walls, and before cutting away again, we get a glimpse of the child holding a stuffed animal tightly, a lion, and asking it to stop her abuse.

We then rejoin the father in the living room, passed out. He drops his beer, and immediately wakes up, yelling to his wife in the kitchen. Meanwhile, the screen is stuck on the nature channel; a lion documentary. He angrily tries to change the channel to no avail as a lion on the screen stares directly into the camera and just before it cuts away, we hear him scream loudly.

The wife, concerned then enters the living room to a destructive and bloody mess. There’s very little lighting used in this scene, showing that the lion destroyed everything when it came through the television. As she gets closer, she falls down, and sees the severed hand of her husband in front of her face on the ground, covered in blood. She tries moving around more, only to find his corpse, and a roaring lion nearby.

She to soon finds herself victim too the hungry lions rampage of the house, before we see it enter into the child’s bedroom.

As the lion enters her room, the girl shows no fear and stands next to her bed, staring at the lion as if she knows it. The lion too stares back, not making any signs of aggression towards her before revealing it to really be her stuffed lion that fell onto the floor earlier. The child picks it up, hugs it tightly, thanking it, before getting back into bed and drifting back off to sleep.

For a short film, it was packed with suspense that left me on the edge of my seat until the very end. The dark lighting was certainly a positive, since it masks whether or not the lion was real, CGI, or both, keeping the audience wondering what exactly is going on as well.

The minimal use of blood I felt was a good choice as well, since it really wasn’t needed to get the point across. Domestic violence is terrible, and can happen to anyone, but help can come from the most unlikely of places.

My only complaint about this film, if I had to pick something, would be during the scene the lion is staring down the girl's father on the screen. The lion is grainy and out of focus as it didn’t seem like something that would’ve actually been on television, so it did take me out when I noticed it, but that’s only if I’m being really picky.

Overall I’d give this short an 8/10.


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