Life of Pie – Film Review
REVIEWED BY CRITIC, FILM BUFF & BEER CONNOISSEUR F.P. BLUCK
10:15 am, Life of Pi (3D). About 20 present.
We were spared the usual ads for Kmart and local baseball because someone was trying to get the technology right. For the same reason, we were spared previews, one of which would probably have been Jack Reacher, so we should be grateful for small mercies. But it meant that we had no hints of what the great minds who run cinemas thought might appeal to people there to attend Life of Pi.
I had been in some doubt about whether this film could be made to work. Yann Martel’s book, though quite slender, has some subtlety to it and modern cinema and subtlety tend to get on as well as a porn festival in Teheran. Ang Lee does better with the material than many would have managed, and even sets out the dilemma at the core of the book without hammering any particular answer. To do this, he creates a framework, not reflecting the book, where a frustrated author spends time with Pi* and hears his remarkable story of survival.
Unvarnished, the scenario is that Pi and family leave India on a freighter accompanied by the animals from their zoo, heading for Canada. A storm claims the ship and months later, the survivor (Pi) and his lifeboat come ashore in Mexico. Beyond that, there is a contest of beliefs in different versions, paralleling the contest between religions that Pi has experienced. Does one prefer a probable but ugly truth or a claimed truth so remarkable it would be difficult to invent?
As would be expected from the previews, the film is a visual treat. Some elements have obviously been added to distinguish and use the 3D format to advantage and it is probably worth a few extra bucks to see the 3D version. A great performance by the novice star, Shuraj Sharma and general quiet competence all around the cast**.
It has “award winning” all over it.
Four flat whites.
* – originally Piscine Molitor Patel, born in Pondicherry and an enthusiast for several religions simultaneously.
** – even Gerard Depardieu.