Life of Pi
With Oscar season rearing its golden head soon, it is roughly this time of year when speculation starts about the likely contenders for the awards. Life of Pi is sure to be on that list as crowd-pleasers which differentiate from typical blockbusters often are. This isn’t to simplify the achievements of Ang Lee’s latest offering; like the novel the film is based on, Life of Pi is an original and often surprising tale.
Throughout his career, Ang Lee has often adapted literary works and transferred them the big screen; Sense and Sensibility, The Ice Storm and Lust Cautionare examples of successful transitions from page to film. It’s no surprise then that a book considered almost impossible to film was placed in the hands of a seasoned and reliable director, capable of producing a film with refined artistic sensibilities.
Seeking inspiration for his next novel, Writer (Rafe Spall) comes across the incredible story of Pi Patel (Irrfan Khan), his theories of faith, and the relationships between humans and beasts. Soon Pi tells the Writer of his journey at sea after a shipwreck leaves him stranded with a fully grown Bengal tiger.
Running wild with glorious flourishes of colour, Life of Pi is an assault on the senses, catapulting the audience into a world of supreme colour and life. Complementing the visuals are CGI-rendered animals, although unlike many films which rely heavily on effects, Life of Pi’s storytelling is enough to keep viewers interested.
Much of the film’s success lies with Suraj Sharma who plays the teenage Pi. Faced with an arduous task, Sharma portrays Pi with conviction and merit as he carries the heavy weight of conveying a believable character immersed in a fantastical world without a supporting cast.
Lee captures Pi’s world of isolation and wonder with astuteness and heart. At times Life of Pi can feel slow and meandering. Despite this, Life of Pi is still escapist cinema at its most vivid. Fans of the novel won’t be disappointed by Lee’s bold and ambitious attempt at capturing Pi’s universe, whilst others will be satisfied enough by the film’s visual brilliance and story.
Life of Pi is released nationwide on 20th December 2012.
Watch the trailer for Life of Pi here: