Ang Lee’s latest film Life of Pi is not only a visual delight but also a profound piece of work that is far more cerebral than what it may seem.
Movie: Life of Pi
Cast: Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan, Tabu
Director: Ang Lee
If you haven’t read Yann Martel’s Booker Prize-winning novel Life of Pi, the ending of its film adaptation is going to catch you by surprise.In the film, Pi Patel (Irrfan Khan) tells a writer (Rafe Spall) a totally different version of the incredible tale of his survival and gives the writer a choice to believe whichever version of the story he finds more amazing. In either case, there’s one common denominator. The tale of how Pi survives in the Pacific Ocean when the freight ship he was on sinks is both incredulous and breathtaking.
Directed by Ang Lee, the film is a visual delight and also addresses several issues relating to one’s faith in God, hope, relationship with nature, among many other things.
Pi Patel lives with his parents in Pondicherry, India. At a young age, he gets fascinated by Hinduism, Christianity and Islam. His father (Adil Hussain) tells him to believe in reason, whereas his mother (Tabu) wants him to learn things on his own. When he (Suraj Sharma) turns 16-years-old, his parents decide to migrate to Canada along with all the animals from their private zoo.
During the journey, the freight ship carrying them sails right through a storm in Pacific Ocean and just before it sinks, Pi manages to escape on a lifeboat. The next morning, he finds himself in the company of an injured zebra, an orangutan, a hyena, a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker, a blazing sun and a never-ending ocean.
The rest of this incredible story is about how Pi manages to survive amidst all odds, which includes loneliness and a strange friendship which he strikes with Richard Parker.
Pi drifts along the waves for 227 days and nothing much really happens per se, yet in those never-ending moments of loneliness and isolation, Pi tries his best to keep himself and Richard Parker alive. When he realises that he’ll die soon, he looks up to the sky and pleads for help and every single time, a miracle occurs which reinforces his faith in God. Life of Pi is filled with many such incident and in the middle of the night, when the ocean reflects the stars above and the sparkling fish beneath its surface, it’s a moment of joy for Pi. Even Richard Parker is at peace with the nature around him at that moment.
The film’s lead actor, Suraj Sharma, is an amazing find and carries most part of the film on his shoulders. Richard Parker, the Bengal Tiger, is by far one of the best characters in a film and David Magee, the screenwriter, gives it so much personality that it’s hard not to fall in love with him.
But the film truly belongs to Ang Lee. It’s nothing short of a miracle that he envisioned that Pi’s never-ending thoughts and desperation to survive can be made into a movie.Almost every scene in the ocean is finely crafted and the use of 3D is one of the best in recent years. It would be a crime to point out which scenes to look forward to in this film.
Life of Pi is the kind of film which will leave you with more questions in the end. And these questions are likely to be — Was it real? Or did I daydream like Pi?All said and done, Life of Pi is surreal, profound, frustrating and above all, a memoir of survival against all odds. Like life itself.
About the Author (Author Profile)
Hemanth writes primarily about Telugu cinema, although he finds inspiration from the works of filmmakers like Woody Allen. Apart from writing, he spends most of his time on Twitter discussing about cinema, travel and life in Hyderabad.