The story of a young man’s spiritual journey while lost at sea, Ang Lee’s film adaptation of Yann Martel’s Man Booker Prize winning Life of Pi is a triumph. Following the story of the inquisitive Piscine ‘Pi’ Patel (Suraj Sharma), Life of Pi is a tale of survival intensified by incredible CGI backdrops and imagery. Hoping to resurrect his career as a zookeeper, Pi’s father emigrates his family from India to Canada on board a Japanese steamer laden with zebras, hyenas, orangutans and a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. Caught at sea, a storm destroys the ship and its cargo – leaving a newly orphaned Pi trapped on a lifeboat with the adult tiger.
Richard Parker is Pi’s only companion during his 227 days at sea, and the relationship between the two of them forms the heart of the story. The early battle between man and beast is engrossing, as Pi builds himself a separate life raft before training the beast to respond to his whistle.
The film is full of lighthearted moments, such as when we learn the origins of Pi’s name – he was named after his uncle’s favourite Parisian swimming pool – and that Richard Parker is the name of the man who captured him in the wild. Visually, Life of Pi is stunning cinema. The jellyfish lights how and a truly hypnotic underwater sequence are highlights from a fantastical wonderland that borders on visual transcendence.
A curious story of an extraordinary life, Pi’s journey from a spiritually hungry child to a wise, contemplative adult is a survival story told on an epic scale. Slumdog Millonaire
meets Titantic meets Madagascar, Life of Pi may well be Lee’s most accomplished work, with the award-winning director bringing the dreamlike wonders of Pi’s nautical adventure to the big screen in spectacular fashion. This is one piece of ‘Pi’ you can’t miss.