Film Review: Life of Pi

Ang Lee’s Life of Pi is a sumptuous looking adventure. The director has successfully brought the novel to the big screen.

A writer travels to Canada to meet Pi Patel, who apparently has quite a story to tell. The tale begins when Pi is a young boy in Pondicherry, India. The son of a zoo keeper, Pi is about to embark on an adventure…

Life of Pi seems perfect for a Christmas release. A film suitable for family viewing which mixes fantasy and adventure. It provides perhaps an anecdote to what could be perceived as the overt fantasy offerings of the last decade or so, with Pirates of the Caribbean, Lord of the Rings and the like. Furthermore, given that it is based on Yann Martel’s best-selling novel, it is likely to have even more of an appeal to adults over younger viewers.

Life of Pi excels in its storytelling. The bookend frame set up allows for the narrator to be present throughout. For those who do not know much about the story, this works doubly well as there is a sense of anticipation of what the adventure entails. The film is a bit too long, but that is the only real negative overall.

The theme of faith and belief runs throughout the film. In the earlier section, the views of Pi’s parents balance out, taking opposite ends of the spectrum. Nonetheless, Life of Pi is unequivocal in its promotion of faith. Rather than this being of a organised religion kind, belief in the film takes on a more spiritual edge.

Lee’s use of colour creates some memorable imagery. Visually, Life of Pi is a treat. The effects are good, particularly with the tiger. Suraj Sharma delivers a strong performance as the adult Pi. He is believable as the protagonist, with his performance indispensible to many scenes.

Although it could have been trimmed a little, Life of Pi is a solid adventure film.