Life of Pi (2012)

139.

★★★★

Directed by: Ang Lee
Written by: David Magee (screenplay), Yann Martel (novel)
Starring: Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan and Adil Hussain

The journey of Yann Martel’s best-selling book, ‘Life of Pi’, was an arduous one. While the story of a young man being stranded on a boat with a Bengal tiger didn’t sound like a commercial hit, the novel’s universal appeal reached readers around the world in 2001. Now, as a film adaptation, Life of Pi offers a cinematic experience that no one could have imagined possible. With the latest in 3D technology, director Ang Lee paints a world of natural beauty, spirituality, and philosophy with a keen eye for action and drama.

Time out.

Throughout his childhood, Pi (Sharma) is exposed to many different ideas and experiences. For one thing, his father owns a zoo in Pondicherry. His name also subjected him to some serious bullying and taught him to stand up for himself in the face of ridicule, while his curiosity opened him up to both Christian and Muslim beliefs. It is when Pi’s father decides to emigrate, however, that Pi’s life is changed forever. As the ship taking them to Canada faces a severe storm, Pi finds himself on board a lifeboat with a hungry tiger as his shipmate. Out at sea, Pi is left to his own devices to survive and co-exist with a man-eating beast.

As rare as it is to find a man bobbing on the sea with a tiger, Life of Pi impressively balances its awe-inspiring 3D spectacle with thought-provoking ideas about life, death, and religion. Not many films are capable of doing this balancing act so expertly and entertainingly. Life of Pi not only asks significant questions, but also engages its audience, offering visual beauty that is creative and surprising in its realism. The images employed here are almost hypnotic in their crisp beauty, blending beautiful shades of color and levels of depth to create worlds worthy of the novel’s powerful concepts. Whether Life of Pi provokes thought in relation to divine will, inspires an appreciation of storytelling traditions, or simply catches your eye, there is magic here.

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