Sunday 2 December 2012

Life of Pi [2012]

Adapted by Ang Lee from Yann Martel’s Booker-winning novel, Life of Pi is about the triumph of human courage, persistence and the indomitable will to survive over all odds and adversities. But, more than that, this is an allegorical and spiritual tale championing the saying, “Faith is what makes life bearable, with all its tragedies and ambiguities.” Told in flashbacks by its now wizened protagonist (Irfan Khan), the plot tells the tale of the eponymous Pi (Suraj Sharma), the 16-year old son of a zoo-owner, who is stranded on a boat in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, along with a mighty Royal Bengal Tiger, when the ship he was travelling in from India to Canada along with his family capsizes. Over the next 227 days at sea, he experiences a gamut of emotions – from wild elation to heartbreaking grief, and he doesn’t just slowly master the art of survival, but also manages to strike a profound kinship with his regal but ferocious mate. Though, in essence, a message-driven movie with a simplistic, fable-like storyline, its spirituality is never in-your-face, nor its tone overtly preachy. Rather, Lee laid greater emphasis on Pi’s fantastical journey, and the myriad life-changing things he experiences, by infusing the tale with magic realism and a constant sense of high adventure. The movie boasts of one of the finest usages of 3D in my experience – the CGI (particularly the creation of the tiger) was exquisite, and the visual design was enthralling. In short, it was an audio-visual feast, and consequently, reason enough to watch the film even for those largely uninterested in spirituality or matters of faith.

Director: Ang Lee
Genre: Fantasy Drama/Adventure/Coming-of-Age
Language: English
Country: US


Sam Juliano said...

Wow Shubhajit I am really thrilled to hear all this!!! You have made my day with this glowing assessment! I watched the film a second time this week on Wednesday, but I won't be admitting this in fear of being institutionalized! Ha! Great and passionate capsule reviews that hits all the right buttons. There is a spiritual underpinning for sure, and Miranda's cinematography and Michael Danna's music are sublime. Sharma and Kahn are fantastic, and this film is beautifully crafted by master Ange Lee. And it's deeply moving. And yes this may well be the greatest use of 3D ever!!!

Shubhajit said...

Thanks a lot Sam. As I'd mentioned the other day at WitD, I was undecided about watching this film until I read your glowing review of it. And I'm glad that I watched it after all - especially in 3D. The film is visually ravishing, and that, in my opinion, is reason enough to watch the film, even if one is not much for faith-related matters. The fact that Ang Lee smartly disguised the spiritual theme made this all the more watchable.