Available from today on digital download, ‘Eaten By Lions’ is a heartwarming story which shows that families come in all shapes and sizes, not necessarily those to whom you’re actually related.
Omar and Pete are half brothers, and upon the death of their grandmother Edith, who had taken them in when their parents had been eaten by lions during a bizarre ballooning accident, they decide to go in search of Omar’s father, named on his birth certificate as Malik Choudray, whose last known address was in Blackpool.
The idea of family is strong in this film. There’s the blended family of Omar, Pete, and Pete’s parents. There’s the family created when their Gran Edith takes the boys in when their parents are killed. Then there’s Omar’s real father, who in a twist isn’t Malik after all, but rather his wayward man-child brother Irfan. Irfan, as well as Malik, and the extended Choudray family turn out to be more of a family to Omar and Pete – more so than Pete’s aunt Ellen and her much trodden upon husband Ken, who reject Omar and wish only to mould Pete in their (well mostly Ellen’s) own image.
Possibly the most loving example of family however is that of Amy and her uncle Ray, who take in Omar and Pete when all their worldly possessions are washed into the Irish Sea. Amy – who we immediately recognise as a love interest for Omar, commends him for his chivalry in paying for her ice cream cone when she has no money. It is she however who is most chivalrous, going out of her way to find the brothers a place to stay, with her kindly uncle Ray, played (for some unknown reason in a long wig) by Johnny Vegas.
‘Eaten By Lions’ is essentially a comedy, but it’s so much more than that. The characters are relatable, and there are many life lessons to be learned. Pete, played by Jack Carroll, has cerebral palsy and walks with a frame. The only time this is commented on however is by his uncle and aunt; every other person in the film accepts it as part of him. The same uncle and aunt are visibly racist with regard to Omar and the Choudray family, who on the other hand are more than accommodating of Pete. The Choudray family hower are not without their faults. Parveen, daughter of Malik and his wife Sara, is a selective mute, who immediately sees a kindred spirit (and love interest) in Pete. When he asks her why she doesn’t speak to her family, she tells him that she only speaks to those who are worth it, and they ignore her anyway. Their relationship seems on the surface to be inconsequential to the main story, but it actually goes to a long way to repairing the cracks in the Choudray family.
‘Eaten By Lions’ is primarily shot in Blackpool, and shows the seaside resort in a light that isn’t often seen, with the focus more on the family lives of the people who live there rather than those just visiting. It feels homey and welcoming, and the locals are portrayed as salt of the earth types who would go out of their way for complete strangers: essentially Blackpool herself is another family.
For more information about ‘Eaten By Lions’, visit their official website.