Sometimes a movie will linger with you long after you’ve left the theater. It could be a particular image or theme or character that resonates, but once that connection is made it is hard to shake.
It has been a long time since a movie has lingered with me as long as “Life of Pi,” a strikingly beautiful parable about strength, survival, and spirituality.
Lovingly adapted from the novel by Yann Martel, the story is as simple as it is unique; an Indian man named Pi (played as an adult by Irrfan Khan) tells an aspiring writer (Rafe Spall) the story of his life and how he came to live in Canada.
Pi tells of growing up the son of a zookeeper and of how one incredible event came to change his life. When Pi was a teenager (played by newcomer Suraj Sharma), his father decided to transplant his family and his zoo to North America.
Unfortunately, while en route, the massive cargo ship on which they all were traveling hits a massive storm and sinks.
Amidst all the chaos, Pi finds himself stranded on a lifeboat with the zoo’s Bengal tiger. As you would imagine, sharing a small space with a large, hungry predator result in some serious logistical challenges, but Pi finds a way to survive not only the elements but his ferocious companion as well.
“Life of Pi” was directed by Ang Lee, who with cinematographer Claudio Miranda has created one of the most visually breathtaking movies you will ever see. It is like watching a watercolor painting come to life.
This is also one of those rare instances, which seem to consistently occur at the hands of incredibly talented filmmakers, where 3D adds quite a bit to the movie.
Lee uses the depth of the medium to bring home the scope of distance that is so important to the movie. Not only do we feel Pi’s proximity to the tiger, but the vastness of the ocean that surrounds them.
The special effects are impressive as well, most notably the computer-generated animals – especially the tiger – which are swapped in and out almost seamlessly for their flesh and blood counterparts.
This is a good movie featuring high adventure, jaw-dropping visuals, and emotional heft. It becomes a great movie, though, when near the end of the film, a hidden subtext is revealed that challenges not only everything that we’ve seen but also what we are willing to believe.
“Life of Pi” is one of the best movies of the year and a cinematic treat that absolutely demands to be seen on the big screen. While there are some parts that may be too intense for younger children, this is a movie the whole family will enjoy.
Finding a movie that is exciting, thoughtful, and that everyone can agree on is certainly something to be thankful for over a long holiday weekend.
“Life of Pi” is rated PG for emotional thematic content throughout, and some scary action sequences and peril.