Life of Pi (2012)
Running Time: 127 minutes
Directed by: Ang Lee
Starring: Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan, Adil Hussain, Rafe Spall
The Life of Pi is based on a novel by Yann Martel. It is an adventure story based on the protagonist’s – Pi Patel – experience of being trapped in the middle of the Pacific Ocean after a shipwreck. So, the story began in Pondicherry, India where Pi and his family owned a zoo. When the family faces some financial trouble, they decide to move to Canada by hitching a ride on a Japanese ship which is also transporting the animals that Pi’s family own. After the shipwreck, Pi finds himself adrift in a lifeboat with a zebra, a hyena, an orangutan, and a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. Thetale follows Pi’s struggle to survive in the middle of nowhere.
The first thing that struck me whilst watching the film was how much it reminded me of Tom Hanks’ Castaway, and the classic Robinson Crusoe. The film started off with the adult Pi (Irrfan Khan) telling his story to a writer (Rafe Spall). Then, it flashed back to Pi’s childhood and how his name came about and so forth. I thought it started off at a good pace, not too slow that it’ll bore the audience, with the correct amount of amusement that will catch the audience’s attention and set the remaining pace of the story. It showed the protagonist’s search of faith and his belief in God. It was a colorful film that transitioned from the tones of red, blue, green, and yellow which set the mood of the scenes wonderfully. I must say aside from the brilliantly adapted screenplay, the visual effects were breathtaking. There are many moments where I find myself questioning myself whether what I was seeing was real or CGI-ed. The acting, mostly focused on the newcomer, Suraj Sharma was believable enough that you can’t help but empathize with Pi’s situation and struggles. Although halfway through the film I started to feel the length of the film, but when the credits rolled on the screen I find myself thoroughly satisfied and questioned on the story of the film and the topics that were brought up throughout – faith, religion, love, rationality, etc. I can’t say too much or else I’ll end up spoiling it for you guys. Last but not least, Ang Lee’s vision and boldness to take on this film, just like he did with Brokeback Mountain and Lust, Caution was equally inspiring and I’m really happy that he won the Oscar, and cannot wait to see what he has installed next.
Overall, please give this movie a chance if you haven’t already, the visual effects is impeccable, creating the lives of various animals, and the story itself just captures your imagination, but please bear in mind that it will be a slow paced film and it’s mostly set in the ocean. Nonetheless, please give it a try if you haven’t!
Rating: 8 ½ out of 10