Friday, November 23, 2012

Life of Pi

Director Ang Lee brings Yann Martel's Booker Prize winning book to the screen and does justice to this marvelous epic.

The book has been said to reverberate echoes from sources as disparate as Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe and Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea. The trans-Pacific sea adventure of Pi Patel has been likened to the Kon-Tiki expedition.

Ang Lee uses stunning visuals to accentuate the journey of Pi Patel after he survives a ship wreck and is adrift in the ocean with a Bengal Tiger, humorously named Richard Parker. A majority of the movie focuses on the 227 days Pi and Richard spend on the lifeboat. While that may sound boring, the brilliance of Ang Lee and screen writer, David Magee, are seen in these sequences. It is for this reason that I would recommend watching the movie in 3D. Whether it is watching the majestic hump back whale or the frolicking dolphins or the spectacular flying fish, Ang Lee has used every technical wizardry at his disposal to bring these scenes to life. Unlike James Cameron's 2009 film, Avatar, where all the characters are make-believe, we can relate to the characters and players in Life of Pi. We suffer along side Pi Patel, brilliantly played by Suraj Sharma. We question his faith in religion and in God as he suffers one hazard after another through his arduous journey.

Irrfan Khan's performance as the older Pi Patel is brilliant. Whether playing the police constable in Slumdog Millionaire or the immigrant Ashoke Ganguli in Namesake, Irrfan Khan acts with conviction and portrays the character of the storyteller here.

If I have to point out a weakness in the film, it is the music. I wish Ang Lee had used A.R. Rahman instead of Michael Danna. Even though "Pi's Lullaby" is performed by the renowned Bombay Jayashri, I was somewhat underwhelmed by it.

This film is most definitely on its way to winning Oscars for Direction, Cinematography and Screenplay. It will certainly get nominated for Best Picture. There are many good movies contending for Best Picture this year, including Lincoln (surely Daniel Day Lewis will win Best Actor) and Peter Jackson's Hobbit.


Ming Lu said...

another possible weakness is the flies on the zebra's nose while they are in the boat on the sea. is that possible? -- this is Ming sitting next to you

Ming Lu said...

very good movie though ;-)