Film Review: LIFE OF PI

Directed by Ang Lee
Written by David Magee based on the novel by Yann Martel
Starring Surah Sharmam Urrfab Khan, Gerard Depardieu, Rafe Spall

I haven’t read the novel but was always puzzled by my mother’s comment after reading LIFE OF PI. Telling you her comment here would constitute a spoiler but I will say, it demonstrates clearly now how people will take different interpretations away from this movie. And how often does that happen?

Life of Pi tells the story of a young Indian boy whose family is cobbling together a meek existence in Pondichery, India by running a modest zoo. The main attraction of their little zoo is a Bengal tiger, named Richard Parker, that the young Piscine is fascinated with. His father teaches him how lethal a relationship with an animal can be. When the zoo goes broke, the family along with their animals head by boat toward Canada, but a storm puts Pi on a lifeboat with the tiger, a zebra, an orangutan and a hyena. Pi’s family perishes.

Pi spends more than 200 days at sea where he learns how he can, to a small extent, tame the tiger and stay alive. This comes after a series of nearly lethal experiments. The animal is never made to seem human however. We are very aware of just how dangerous the situation is for the boy.

This movie makes the best use of 3-D and computer imaging I have seen in a movie. The tiger never looks less than animal. There are no clumsy shots, no moments that you are reminded that he is born of technology and not another tiger. The beauty and danger of the sea has never seemed more majestic in a film,

This is a beautiful movie in other respects. It explores without judgment how this boy approaches his dilemma, how he uses his belief system to survive. The movie allows the viewer to find his own explanations for Pi’s survival.

This is certainly one of the best films of a year filled with great films.

Be sure to stop by to check out Forgotten Books every Friday as well as other thoughts, comments and reviews. A collection of her stories, Monkey Justice (Snubnose Press) can be found on Amazon