Film Review: “Life of Pi”

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Life of Pi, 2012

dir. Ang Lee


Oh, my God.

First up, I’d like to say that this was the most visually beautiful film I’ve ever seen. Honestly, it looks like magic, gorgeous. And I saw it in 2D, so I can only assume the 3D version is even more stunning.

Now, let’s all raise a glass, give a standing ovation and all of the awards to one Mr Suraj Sharma, for carrying this amazing movie behind his back, acting by himself on a boat opposite a CGI tiger. His whole performance was absolutely stunning. You could sense his fear and strength, and in his eyes there was all of Pi’s faith in God. Absolutely incredible. I was expecting top-notch acting from the reviews I’d read, but this was something more than that. This guy is phenomenal.

But Irrfan Khan also deserves a bit of credit. A lot of it, actually (as do all the actors playing the different ages of Pi, they were all brilliant!). What he did with Adult Pi was make him wise. His whole stance was that of a man who had seen it all, who had been through a lot and not only got through it, but learnt from it. He’s a remarkably intelligent man, Pi, and there is this sense of tranquility that Khan is able to transmit. In some ways, he is a lot like a wizard (Gandalf and Dumbledore, namely, I’d say) talking about this incredible quest. It’s something.

Okay, moving on now. Remember when I said that this was the most beautiful movie I’d ever seen? Well, it is. It just is. Ang Lee did such brilliant work here, what he did with CGI and special effects, just wow. I had to carry my jaw around the cinema after the movie was over because it had dropped hard to the ground.

The colours are stunning, but you would expect that from a movie that has its roots in India. But there is a certain air of (and here I am using that word again) magic in the air, everything  is pristine and beautiful, you can’t help but to fall in love with the whole country. The flowers are so alive, and the clothes are much more than just a costume, they are clearly part of the set up, supposed to make you believe in the magic, in something. And the animals? Oh, boy! The animals are exquisite. When they first get on the life boat – Pi, Orange Juice, Richard Parker, the zebra and the hyena – the animals look so realistic is hard to believe they could be anything but real. Especially Richard Parker, the tiger. You grow to love him, even if his introduction was a bit scary – seriously, I jumped off my seat, and it was 2D. The orangutan Orange Juice is a sweetheart, really truly adorable. And all of these feelings we have for the animals at first are somewhat explained at the end, even if you don’t want to believe it. I think that we all end up much like the writer (Rafe Spall – beautiful creature, he was in One Day, as Ian, and I spent all of his time on screen trying to figure out where I had seen him before) at the end, choosing to believe in the magic, in God, and that miracles and incredible things do happen.

If anything, this story teaches us that life can be beautiful even when surrounded by misery and pain. That simple things like flying fish or a whale jumping and diving can make us forget for a second about the sadness, that lightenings are not that bad. But all with caution. It says that faith in something is important, that what matters is not the God to whom you pray, but that you follow your heart and that you are good and faithful. I may be reading to much into this, and I am by no means a believer in any religion now, but it’s very humbling to experience someone going through this because it makes you think about how you are inside, if you’d be strong enough to live through such tragedies. It’s about what’s inside your core, your soul.

You should see this if you haven’t already, it’s magical (there it is again!). I am sure you’ll absolutely love it – there’s some comedy too, you know, it’s not just sad!Castaway. So go and enjoy yourself.

review by Mariana Duarte


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