PG cert, 127 min; Dir: Ang Lee; Starring: Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan, Rafe Spall, Gérard Depardieu
This film will restore your faith in cinema….and maybe even God?
Do you have young children? then you will sympathise with the painstaking task of finding a film that pleases the whole family. Life of Pi did this standing on its head. I have to admit I had my reservations about the feasibility of the story on screen, given that for the main part it involves a ferocious Bengal Tiger and a teenage boy, stranded and starving aboard a 26 foot life boat? But there is a reach out and grab it realness throughout and my whole family were riveted from start to finish. This is grand adventure on an epic scale!
This magnificent film is adapted from Yann Martell’s booker prize winning novel Life of Pi. It begins in India at a family owned Zoo, where we are introduced to a young Pi, who much to his Fathers dismay, believes in many gods. We learn how he came to adopt the name Pi and are given a glimpse into his fascination with a Bengal Tiger (accidentally named Richard Parker). The Zoo is forced to close and Pi’s Father finds a buyer for the animals in Canada. In ruins the family decide to embark on a new life and join the animals on their voyage. The vessel is their temporary Ark until tragedy strikes. A storm as dramatic as anything I have ever seen on the screen causes a ship wreck. Teenage Pi is set adrift at Sea with a motley crew of companions; a Zebra, a Hyena, an Orang-utan and the Bengal Tiger-Richard Parker.
The story of this amazing adventure is told by a middle aged Pi to a writer (Rafe Spall) making it all the more impressive, captivating and emotive. Teenage Pi is played by new comer Suraj Sharma in his engaging and memorable debut performance. His adaption of the character really steals the show; his spiritual journey is equally as convincing as his nautical one. I felt every inch of his sadness, desperation, hopelessness, frustration and fear. During his castaway Pi is hurtled into a journey of adventure, self-discovery, human resilience and survival of the fittest. He confronts starvation, a hump back whale, an ocean of iridescent jelly fish and a carnivorous island and of course Richard Parker. Belief and spirituality are key themes…