A young man who survives a disaster at sea is hurtled into an epic journey of adventure and discovery. While cast away, he forms an unexpected connection with another survivor … a fearsome Bengal tiger.
Director Ang Lee is a well known name, especially with members of the Academy, for making movies such as ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’ and ‘Brokeback Mountain’. Both have picked up numerous Oscars® and his latest movie ‘Life of Pi’ is being called his greatest achievement yet, and yes, that statement is very, very true.
The story focusses on Pi, a young indian kid we follow whilst growing up in a zoo in Pondicherri, India. Fascinated by different religions, Pi gets involved with all of them simultaneously while still being quite young of age. It’s around his early 20’s when Pi is having dinner with his parents and the subject of moving to Canada comes up.
The aforementioned zoo is owned by Pi’s parents and because of financial difficulties, a plan is forged to sell the zoo and take the animals with them to Canada in order to sell them off there.
With the money raised from that plan, Pi’s family can start a new life.
The family sets out on a large freighter with their animals when disaster strikes. Through unknown reasons the ship sinks whilst crossing the vast ocean, and Pi wakes up the next morning in a lifeboat, accompanied by a Zebra, Orangutan, Hyena and Bengal Tiger.
If this introduction to the story has made you frown multiple times, fear not, we are only just beginning.
You see, we follow Pi on his day to day survival, in a style that at times can be reminiscent of Tom Hanks’ journey near the end of the movie ‘Cast Away’.
The movie is rooted in spirituality, and whilst it may deter many, being of no specific religion myself, I was intrigued with how the movie showed its love for the simple act of thinking for oneself.
‘Life of Pi’ isn’t a movie which carries a message saying: believe in (a) god.
What it says is: believe in yourself and the things around you, believe in what the world gives you and never fear what is unknown to you.
In terms of technology, ‘Life of Pi’ is a technical marvel. I reckon roughly 80 percent of the imagery seen on screen could be paused and printed as a poster. It truely is THAT gorgeous. Ang Lee was always a master of cinematography, and you could almost tell the sheer joy he must have felt whilst making this.
It can be seen in either 2D or 3D, and having seen it in 3D myself I can say it doesn’t distract nor add anything noteworthy to the experience.
What matters most is the story.
I could detail the transitions that Pi goes through, or the numerous confrontations with the Bengal tiger called Richard Parker (due to a administrative mishap when registering the tiger for his parents zoo) but that doesn’t add anything to the entire experience.
Suraj Sharma, in his first acting role ever, is a revelation as the shipwrecked titular character Pi.
An absolute brilliant performance from an unknown face, something thats worthy for the price of admission all by itself.
But what all of you need to do after finishing this review, is find a moment when you feel up for watching a movie, with a capital letter M.
Sit down, have a drink, empty your bladder before it begins and just experience it.
You might not feel it’s a monumental achievement in storytelling like I did, or dislike the fact that there aren’t a lot of action scenes, hell, you might even think the whole movie is one of those ‘art projects’ that critics seem to rave about but you always tend to find utterly boring.
But it is bound to make you think, about faith, hope, love, loss and the way you live your life.
If there’s one statement that rings true about ‘Life of Pi’ it’s the fact that it really tries to tell a story, and a life inspiring one at that, take from this what you will, but please, whatever you do: watch it.