Everyone seems to be raving about how good Life of Pi is and this reviewer is part of the crowd. Reading Canadian writer Yann Martel’s 2001 book when it came out, one never thought it could be made into a movie. But writer David Magee and director Ang Lee have done it. And an excellent movie it is.
The story involves a young Indian boy named Pi (wonderfully played by Suraj Sharma in most of the movie) travelling on a freighter from India to Canada. His family ran a zoo in Pondicherry, India, but decided to sell the animals and move to Montreal. Some of the animals are on the freighter too, and when the ship sinks in a storm Pi ends up on a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker floating across the Pacific.
They survive for 227 days before being washed ashore. There’s also a magical interlude on a floating island covered with meerkats. One assumes many of the sequences with the tiger use special effects and not a real tiger, but you can’t tell. That tiger seems very real and how they co-exist is fascinating.
Life of Pi works on whatever level you wish to take it. You can take it literally, or as an allegory. Anyway, it is wonderful storytelling. This is also one of the most beautiful films in recent years. The photography, editing and even the 3D effects are enormously well done. It should be nominated for and win Oscars.
Rating: five deer out of five
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Alf Cryderman is a Red Deer freelance writer and old movie buff.