Life of Pi follows the extraordinary events of Pi Patel’s (Suraj Sharma/Irrfan Khan) life as he is involved in a disaster at sea. This tragedy sees him left on a lifeboat with only a Bengal Tiger for company, Richard Parker (best Tiger name ever), which was being transported from his family’s zoo.
First of all, the film looks phenomenal. The cinematography, shot choices, editing and CGI (especially the Tiger) are simply fantastic and fully deserve their Academy Awards for cinematography and visual effects. These choices are what helps to preserve the film’s natural edginess and beauty.
It’s more than entertainment, it’s an experience.
If this wasn’t enough, the film itself is so enthralling. It’s genuinely very emotional, sad and heartwarming as we see this young man endure so much in order to survive. It charters his thoughts and emotional stability perfectly, seeing Pi at his worst and his strongest. The film also manages to be funny and has a unique charm, as well as having interwoven moments of intensity and action.
It’s this blend of indie cinema techniques and more mainstream cinema storytelling which allows Life of Pi to be remain so beautiful and engaging to a wider audience. Ang Lee has created an excellent experience, along with David Magee’s screenplay adaptation of Yann Martel’s novel which is also very strong. Lee is also very deserving of his Academy Award for best Director.
Furthermore, the film touches on some really emotional themes such as loss, survival, death and ultimately life itself and the struggles we must go through. It’s one man’s spiritual and physical (or metaphorical depending on your interpretation) journey of these struggles on his road to adulthood, a unique coming of age tale in a lot of respects.
It’s these themes which add the emotional weight to the film, taking it beyond just looking beautiful and becoming a truly gratifying experience.
Life of Pi is simply beautiful.