This is a story that will make you believe in God, or so says the uncle of our hero. It is the story of Pi as told by his adult self, (Suraj Sharma and Irrfan Khan, respectively) many years later to a writer (Rafe Spall) looking for a tale to tell.
For Pi, believing in a god is not the problem, it’s deciding which one to believe in. His journey through belief systems as a small child is quite profound, and although he wears many different spiritual hats he is a child of faith.
He is also a child with a zoo. His family’s business is exotic to say the least, and when your backyard is full of lions and tigers and bears, you learn to respect the power and majesty of nature.
When Pi’s family, for financial reasons, are forced to uproot their lives and zoo in India for the far more frigid shores of Canada, tragedy strikes on the open seas, leaving Pi stranded on a lifeboat with Richard Parker—a full-grown Bengal tiger.
It’s here Pi’s extreme faith and respect for the power of nature keep him and this jungle cat alive.
This is where Pi’s story begins, in that boat with Richard Parker. The tale he tells us is inspiring, unsettling at times, but in the end it is one of survival.
I, like many I assume, read this book (written by Yann Martel) in high school. It was one of the more difficult reads I have ever suffered through. Once the boat crashes so does the momentum of the novel. That is not true of the film. Somehow, the story manages to maintain its intrigue even as Pi bobs along in the middle of the ocean.
I give that credit to the absolutely stunning visuals we see as Pi awaits his fate in the open water. The use of reflection, with both moonlight and sunlight, is simply breathtakingly beautiful. This is a movie worth seeing in 3D (and I did). Richard Parker is a triumph of CG, and Pi’s emotional but respectful connection with this animal that could very easily have enjoyed Pi for breakfast is the heart of this film.
Ang Lee’s “Life of Pi” is a beautiful story in the most literal sense. It’s sweeping shots, colorful scenery, and downright fantastic views of nature make for a visually stunning adventure on the high seas. And, dare I say it, it may even make you believe in God.