Life of Pi is based on the 2001 novel of the same name by Yann Martel. It is the story of a young man, Piscine Molitor Patel, nicknamed Pi, who becomes lost at sea on a small lifeboat shared with the only other survivor of the shipwreck, who happens to be an adult Bengal tiger, strangely named Richard Parker. The adult Pi, speaking to a writer who wants to hear his story, narrates a tale at once magical and harrowing, of adventure and survival.
Director Ang Lee has created a visual masterpiece, filled with imagery so beautiful that it almost makes you weep to see it, and at the same time haunting enough to linger in your mind for days. I could go on and on about the amazing delights for the eye in this film, but I don’t wish to spoil it for you. Suffice it to say that you do not want to miss this on the big screen, or in the 3D presentation, which I believe is essential for complete enjoyment of the world Lee has created. It’s simply mind-blowing.
The story is very engrossing, as Pi must survive not only the sea, but the very real menace of the hungry tiger with whom he shares salvation. Moreover, the story is a complex philosophical and religious meditation on life itself, and the existence (or lack thereof) of God.
Irrfan Khan (Slumdog Millionaire, The Amazing Spider-Man) plays the adult Pi, who narrates much of the story and provides a wonderful emotional anchor for the film. Suraj Sharma, who plays the younger version of Pi on the lifeboat, does a great job of portraying the real desperation and discovery of his journey.
This is Lee’s best film yet, in my opinion, and I’d be floored if it doesn’t pop up around Oscar time. Don’t miss it.
Recommendation: This is a must see, do not miss it in theaters in 3D.