“I was told you had a story that would make me believe in God.” A novelist says this to a man from India, now living in Canada in the new film by Ang Lee, based on a best selling novel, Life of Pi.
The story, screenplay by David Magee and novel written by Yann Martel, is fairly simple, however it has a framing device that takes you out of the story at times. In present day, a novelist comes to Pi to ask about his life story. We are then flashed back and forth between present day and the story of how he grew up in India. His family owned a zoo, when they ran into hard times they decided to move to Canada via ship. The ship wrecks and sinks killing everyone, including most of the animals, eventually only leaving Pi and a tiger named Richard Parker. The two must then find a way to survive.
Conceived and shot in 3D, the visuals are stunning. From the opening credits, to the shipwreck and the CGI animals are flawlessly done. It is unbelievable that Suraj Sharma was acting with air the entire time he was on the boat. It takes a magnificent director to be able to get someone to act against no one and to do so for such an extended period of time took tremendous skill.
The best part of the film, however is that the story is moving and even makes one want to go out and read the book. The more I think about Life of Pi, particularly the ending, which is a bit of a twist, the more I love it and what it is saying. It is filled with religion and that’s okay, because you interpret it the way you want. I understand it can rub some the wrong way and they could find it too heavy handed, however let’s face it, religion is one of life’s big questions and this film addresses it better than any I’ve seen in recent memory.
Life of Pi is one of the best experiences you will have in a movie theater this year, however, it does drag a bit in the middle and the framing device felt odd and out of place. That said, it makes me want to read the book and makes me think about life’s big questions. Something that is too rare in Hollywood today.