Review by Matthew Schuchman
Based on the 2001 best seller, Life of Pi examines the powers of faith amongst the backdrop of one fantastically unbelievable tale. A lush, vivid journey of chance wrapped inside a boorish shell of exposition, Life of Pi can feel mystical at times, but fails to deliver that knockout blow.
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The embattled journey between Pi and Richard Parker (the full name of his unwanted ship mate) can be tense and interesting. It certainly does capture one’s attention, but the Forrest Gump-ian bookends of Pi’s life is quite silly and dreadfully melodramatic. Just as with Forrest Gump, all the gasps of worried dread from surrounding audiences members are questionably unnecessary as Pi is the one telling the story– you know Richard Parker or a shark doesn’t ingest his stringy Indian insides. There’s a feeling that if the story was told with no narration and in chronological order, viewers would be lost on the film’s thematic journey. As much as I love Irrfan Khan (who plays the older, non-shipwrecked Pi) it was painful each time the film flashes back to his present re-telling of his life to a struggling author. Luckily, once were on the lifeboat, less and less time jumping occurs.
There’s an odd contradictory nature flowing through Life of Pi as it plays so wonderfully into a story where logic reigns over everything, even the unexplainable, yet it doesn’t think its audience is smart enough to dissect that logic themselves. Sure, Life of Pi looks good and will easily make a sensitive persona cry at one point or another, but it’s nothing more than an a singular interesting event.
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Directed by: Ang Lee
Written by: David Magee (screenplay), Yann Martel (novel)
Featuring: Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan and Adil Hussain
Plot: The story of an Indian boy named Pi, a zookeeper's son who finds himself in the company of a hyena, zebra, orangutan, and a Bengal tiger after a shipwreck sets them adrift in the Pacific Ocean.