Friday, January 25, 2013

LIFE OF PI

Suraj Sharma, Irffan Khan

Cinema 11, SM Megamall


Everyone thought that this bestseller (I never read it but certainly knew about the story) by Yann Martel was unfilmable. Yet I think the word 'impossible' doesn't exist in Ang Lee's vocabulary.   His adaptation of "Life of Pi" is lyrical, beautiful, deeply poignant and unlike anything you have ever seen before.  

Most of the movie centers around an Indian boy named Pi (Suraj Sharma) who finds himself on a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger called Richard Parker.  They are the only survivors of a shipwreck which killed everyone on board included Pi's parents and his brother.

An adult Pi (Irrfan Khan) living in present day Montreal recounts his amazing story to a writer who hopes to make it the subject of his next book. Seen through vivid flashbacks, Pi narrates his ordeal quite eloquently. Weaving out a tale that is both incredible and quite incredulous.

The special effects used throughout the movie are fantastic. I couldn't tell where the real animals ended and the CGI creatures began, whether it was at the zoo, aboard the lifeboat or during an astonishing scene involving a whale.  

The greatest drawing point for me was the fierce Bengal tiger. The intensity of his stare, his every nuances were quite compelling to watch.  It's a whole new realm of performance.  Richard Parker despite being a carnivorous animal, made us care so deeply about his fate.

If you could bring yourself to set aside the story’s ambiguous theological concerns, I'd say that "Life of Pi" is quite a masterpiece.  Although I'd admit it is quite difficult to ignore especially during the last part of the film as numerous questions go unanswered.  But kudos goes to Ang Lee for crafting a spectacular movie with so much depth, a visual treat for both the mind and the soul.

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