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  • Theatrical Version
  • Extended Australian Edition
Release: Jul 26, 2020 - Author: Muck47 - Translator: Mike Lowrey - external link: IMDB

Comparison between the theatrical version and the Extended Australian Edition (both included on the Australian Blu-ray by Transmission Films).

- 128 differences, including 5 re-cuts and 7x alternative course
- Runtime difference: 721.6 sec (= 12:02 min)

A few additional mini-deviations with a duration of less than 0.5 sec each were not listed in the report.

LION with two versions in Australia

In 2014, the novel A Long Way Home was published, in which Saroo Brierley tells his life story. At the age of 5, the Indian boy fell asleep on a train and was therefore involuntarily separated from his family. He then grew up in Australia and only in adulthood did he find his way back to his home via Google Earth. Two years later, this was impressively depicted for the big screen with Lion. Even before the production, The Weinstein Company had already secured the worldwide distribution rights during the Cannes International Film Festival 2014. Distribution-wise, there's one exception: The film, which was shot in the original Indian locations as well as in Australia, was distributed by Transmission Films in Australia and New Zealand.

It only became apparent in retrospect that the US financiers probably also had an influence on the worldwide known theatrical version. In Australia, there were second screenings of an extended version of the film in 2017. Davis himself mentioned that the extended version would go a bit more into depth here and there and have a slightly different rhythm. Furthermore, the relationship between Saroo and Lucy would get a little more space. At last, he also mentioned extensions to the parts playing in India.

Later, the local Blu-ray release in Australia was also released as a 2-disc "Extended Australian Edition". Disc 1 contains the worldwide known theatrical version, Disc 2 the national extended version. It is also remarkable that the disc itself is read out as "Director's Cut". It is possible that this term is also used here and there. Given the nature of the differences, it also seems obvious that this is simply Davis' original version, before the studio cuts were made.

Differences in the extended version of LION

First of all, it is disappointing to note that a large part of the 12 minutes of additional runtime can simply be attributed to insignificant tightening adjustments. Shots are minimally longer at the end/beginning or you see another one of several landscape shots in the extended version, which doesn't offer any real added value. This is also the reason why a big part of the report is only in a smaller font and without pictures. During the normal viewing, these changes are not noticeable at all, only in some cases do they make the longer scenes a little more atmospheric.

The differences mentioned by the director are actually the most obvious in the relationship between Saroo and Lucy. Right during the first encounters you see little glances between the two and in general there is more room for them to get to know each other. The two also visit a club together in an additional scene. More impressions of the childhood in India can be seen in a longer panic attack of Saroo, during which he remembers a dramatic situation. A quite interesting montage, thus by no means only filling material.

Concerning the narrative flow, there are several re-cuts, which again stand out, especially during the first scenes with Lucy. The first night together comes at a different point. But also a flashback to Guddu at the railroad tracks was arranged in a completely different way throughout the movie. Most of the time, the reason for this is mainly to be found in the tightening of the story, so that the structure of the plot is also adjusted to the new situation.

All in all, the extended version isn't a completely different viewing experience, but still has a clear added value. Those who liked the movie in its theatrical version can therefore definitely think about importing the Australian Blu-ray in order to be able to watch the supposedly desired version of the director.

Runtimes are ordered as follows: Theatrical version on Australian Blu-ray / Extended Australian Edition Blu-ray

1 of 2
02:59 / 02:59-03:00

Saroo turns to the side at the end of the shot.

1 sec

03:02 / 03:03

At the next shot transition, a few unimportant frames will be missing, too.

0.7 sec

03:17 / 03:19-03:20

Guddu runs to the train a little earlier.

0.9 sec

03:40 / 03:43-03:44

Before the second shot of the train from the top, a little tightening was done.

1.3 sec

03:42 / 03:46-03:47

The train also a little longer.

0.8 sec

05:35 / 05:40-05:42

Saroo a little longer on Guddu's shoulders.

1.5 sec

05:39 / 05:46-05:49

Additional frontal shot of the two in the apartment block.

2.9 sec

05:41 / 05:51-05:52

The next shot of the two a little longer.

0.9 sec

05:45 / 05:56

The house is entered for a moment longer.

0.5 sec

06:53 / 07:04-07:05

The mother insignificantly longer.

1.2 sec

06:55 / 07:07-07:10

The mother goes to the door in an additional shot.

2.7 sec

08:26 / 08:41-08:43

A first shot from inside the train.

1.8 sec

13:08 / 13:25-13:28

After Saroo realized his situation in the moving train, the two exterior shots were tightened a little bit.

2.8 sec

13:18 / 13:38-13:42

Another side view of Saroo.

4.1 sec

14:00 / 14:24-14:25

The sleeping Saroo a little longer.

1.2 sec

22:38 / 23:03-23:06

When Saroo looks into the distance with candlelight in the evening, the DC fades out a little later.

2.8 sec

22:46 / 23:14-23:15

A shot begins insignificantly earlier.

1 sec

23:00 / 23:29-23:31

The preaching men again.

1.4 sec

23:17 / 23:48-23:50

Saroo looks a little longer ahead and a first shot of people in the water follows.

2.8 sec

23:30 / 24:04-24:07

Another view of Saroo.

3.5 sec

23:33 / 24:10-24:11

The cardboard underlay a little longer.

0.8 sec

23:50 / 24:28-24:29

Saroo looks down on the tracks for an insignificant amount of time.

0.9 sec

24:21 / 25:00-25:05

Noor talks to Saroo onscreen, while this sentence was already placed over the previous shot of Saroo in the theatrical version. Only here does she then repeat "You'll fall!" again when Saroo is shown again.

5.1 sec

25:04 / 25:48-25:53

Noor looks at Saroo again and a first shot from the staircase.

5.8 sec

25:18 or 25:21-25:24 / 26:07-26:10

Saroo overlooks the city. This shot is inserted 3 sec later in the theatrical version after the frontal shot of Saroo.

No time difference

25:24 / 26:14-26:33

Instead, you can see Saroo entering the apartment timidly in further shots.

19,5 sec

26:56 / 28:05-28:24

Saroo has a little flashback of his mother washing him. However, when you look at the new cut you see that this is of course only Noor. She also examines the condition of his teeth.

19,1 sec

28:15 / 29:43-29:47

Rama mentions that Saroo got lost. Saroo nods.

4 sec

28:31 / 30:03-30:07

Rama looks at Saroo a little longer and says onscreen "Come closer" - to be heard during the theatrical version over the follow-up shot.

4.4 sec

28:37 / 30:13-30:15

The follow-up shot of the two also starts a little earlier.

1.2 sec

29:22 / 31:00

Saroo stands in front of him for a moment longer.

0.6 sec

30:26 / 32:04-32:06

Noor asks "No?" at the beginning of the shot.

2.3 sec

32:53 / 34:33-34:35

A view of the Saroo lying in the rain under a bridge a little longer.

1.5 sec

33:17 / 34:59-35:05

Two more shots of the wandering Saroo.

6 sec

35:15 / 37:03-37:04

A shot of the police station insignificantly earlier.

0.8 sec

35:37 / 37:26-37:30

Saroo can be seen a little earlier at the photo session.

3.7 sec

35:48 / 37:41-37:42

A shot on the bus of the orphans insignificantly longer.

0.8 sec

35:58 / 37:52-37:53

So was the last one.

1.1 sec

40:07 / 42:02-42:06

Saroo is awakened in another shot with gentle blows to the back of the head.

3.8 sec

40:28 / 42:27-42:29

The woman introduces herself at first. Therefore, her following "It's my job..."-commentary for the theatrical version was already a bit premature.

2.5 sec

40:36 / 42:37-42:38

Insignificant tightening during further conversation.

0.6 sec

41:28 / 43:30-43:33

When Saroo mentions Guddu, the woman takes a short breath at the beginning of the shot.

3.3 sec

43:07 / 45:12-45:18

Saroo is led out longer and the guard asks who is in the photo.

6.2 sec

49:54 / 52:05-52:09

Two first shots of Saroo on the boat. The following one also a little earlier.

4.3 sec

51:57 / 54:12-54:15

Mantosh rages in another shot and is calmed down by John.

3 sec

53:37-53:53 / 55:55-56:16

Only in the Extended is it pointed out on a black background that this is now 20 years later. In the theatrical version this is instead in the shot after the next one, after Saroo appears in close-up. Exactly this shot is a little bit longer, whereas the following shot starts much earlier in the extended version.

Extended 4 sec longer

Theatrical VersionExtended Australian Edition

55:38 / 58:01-58:04

A first landscape shot.

3.6 sec

55:42 / 58:08-58:10

The next of the moving car a little longer.

1.9 sec

56:15 / 58:43-58:44

Mantosh a little earlier.

0.8 sec

57:36 / 60:05-60:11

Before you see Lucy for the first time, there are more shots of the students' turmoil.

6.3 sec

57:53 / 60:28-60:30

Shots of Saroo and Lucy insignificantly longer.

1.3 sec

58:05 / 60:41-60:48

The leader lingers on: "So you want to be a community liaison consultant?
Lucy: "Yeah. That sounds good."
Saroo smiles.

6.8 sec

58:13 / 60:56-61:00

When asked where he came from, Lucy looks briefly at Saroo.
The first answer is: "Tasmania. Across the water."

3.9 sec

58:19 / 61:06-61:07

Saroo a little earlier.

0.5 sec

58:21 / 61:09

Another mini-tightening shortly after.

0.6 sec

58:45 / 61:33-61:35

The teacher addresses Saroo in a short shot onscreen. He can then be seen a little earlier.

2.3 sec

59:03 / 61:54-61:55

Saroo a little earlier. So he looks in Lucy's direction at first.

1 sec

59:45 / 62:36-62:46

The welcome at the party is much longer.

9.8 sec

59:56 / 62:58-63:01

Another shot of the room with Lucy.

2.8 sec

59:59 / 63:04-63:11

More (not further understandable) conversations and another view of the TV with scenes from India.

7.5 sec

60:02 / 63:14-63:15

Saroo a little earlier.

0.8 sec

60:39 / 63:52-63:53

Another short shot of Bharat. The following view of Saroo in the corridor also a little earlier.

1.6 sec

61:45 / 64:59-65:01

Lucy holds her hand a little longer on Saroo's back.

1.4 sec

62:17 / 65:33-65:34

Short additional shot of Saroo and Lucy.

1.5 sec

62:41 / 65:58-65:59

A frontal shot of the two of them a little earlier. Here, Saroo agrees with "Yeah".

0.8 sec

63:12 / 66:30-66:31

Lucy insignificantly earlier.

0.9 sec

63:15 / 66:34

A further tightening in the follow-up shot.

0.5 sec

63:33 / 66:52-66:56

Sami is shown again, then Lucy and Saroo.

3.3 sec

64:14 / 67:37-67:39

Lucy and Saroo are going for a little longer.

2.3 sec

Alternative / Re-cut
64:39-65:33 / 68:04-69:01 or 71:25-72:58

After the flirting during a walk, the Extended shows Saroo letting himself fall on the bed at night and saying "Mum."
Thereupon, he sits down at the PC and looks for pictures of the water tanks in India. He downloads Google Earth.

57.4 sec

In the theatrical version, you can already see Saroo and Lucy in bed together, which happens later in the Extended (after a club night together). He strokes her hand and then remembers scenes from his childhood with his mother. Little Saroo brings her something to eat. The adult Saroo therefore can't find any sleep and looks a little bit out of the window. When he goes into the next room and with the PC shot, which shows the earth screen of Google, the versions run synchronously again.

The scene is extended in a few shots in the Extended, only this one is highlighted in colour:
64:53 / 71:40-71:44

Saroo's flashback starts with an additional landscape shot.

3.6 sec

65:05 / 71:55-71:59

When Saroo presents the fruit, you can see his mother laughing.

4.1 sec

65:30 or 73:17-73:37 / 72:24-72:55

After looking out the window, another flashback follows, with Guddu running around calling for Saroo. Only this flashback part comes unchanged in the theatrical version 8 minutes later after the confrontation at the dining table and the subsequent cuddling of Saroo and Lucy.
Thereupon, there are further shots of the desperate Saroo, who then also walks through the room for the first time.

Extended 11,3 sec longer

65:38-65:41 / 69:06-69:12

For connection reasons, a cut to Saroo sitting in front of the PC is different here. In the Extended, he still wears his T-shirt, and then there is another close-up of the earth on the screen.

Extended 2,9 sec longer

Theatrical VersionExtended Australian Edition

65:46 / 69:17-69:19

Another view of Saroo - just like the extended screenshots before and after.

2.2 sec

65:53-65:56 / 69:26-69:29

Again a different shot of him.

Extended 0.5 sec longer

Theatrical VersionExtended Australian Edition

66:01 / 69:34-70:02

Saroo continues to search the area and notices the tracks around. He briefly remembers the hopeless looking boy from the transport at the beginning of the movie. Overwhelmed, he briefly closes his laptop.

27.2 sec

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