Movie Review: Life of Pi

Life of Pi (2012)
127 minutes
Rated – PG
Directed by Ang Lee
Starring: Suraj Sharma

Grade:  A

The first thing you need to know about this movie is that it is incredibly gorgeous to watch. Everything that is shown on the screen is simply beautiful. From the spectacular use of 3-D to the CGI Bengal tiger, Life of Pi doesn’t have a wrong brushstroke with its visuals. It will take your breath away, specifically the night scene when Pi is surrounded by jellyfish. Ang Lee is one of the generation’s most innovative directors and Life of Pi adds to his greatness.

It’s important not to have this film spoiled for you, so if you plan on watching it then at all costs don’t find out what happens prior to seeing it. The beginning of the film plays out like a light-hearted family drama about an Indian family who owns a zoo. The adult version of Piscine is telling his story to a friend seeking inspiration for a novel. The scenes cut back and forth, making the first third of the film a little choppy, but essential in its narrative.

As a kid, Piscine was teased in school because his name sounded like “pissing” so he decided to have everyone call him “Pi.” There’s a brief romance between Pi and a lovely girl, but when the zoo goes broke the family decides to take a ship to Canada along with the animals to sell. In a devastating sequence of scenes, the ship gets caught in a terrible storm and sinks. Pi is able to escape on a survival boat along with a few animals: a zebra, a hyena, an orangutan, and a tiger.

The rest of the film is about Pi’s will to stay alive through the roughest situations. Stranded at sea with wild animals, Pi understands that the most important aspect is not losing hope. With the help of a survival guide, Pi is able to ration his food and water and is even able to train the tiger. Take it from me, this is a grueling movie to get through, but Suraj Sharma does an excellent job keeping the attention of the audience. You know Pi survives because he’s telling the story, but there is still the unbelievable amount of danger that Pi experiences every day. Sharma’s performance is definitely noteworthy, but a level below Tom Hanks in Castaway and James Franco in 127 Hours, two other movies with a single character on screen for a lengthy time.

In Life of Pi, the story is said to enable you to find God. Early on, young Pi begins to practice a handful of religions, something that his father disagrees with, but that’s the point of the story. No matter what you believe, there are always signs from God, or a higher power, that presents us with miracles and helps us keep faith. Life is Pi is arguably the most powerful movie of the year with an ending that will question your faith and judgment. Will you continue to believe or will you lose hope? That’s the question that Life of Pi not only asks during the movie, but continues to ask long after its completion.

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