Winning four Academy Awards and unanimous critical praise, Ang Lee’s adaptation of Yann Martel’s acclaimed novel Life of Pi is a modern masterpiece in every sense of the word. The legendary Taiwanese director’s résumé is as diverse as they come. After winning the Best Director Oscar no less than eight years ago for the devastatingly beautiful Brokeback Mountain, Lee claimed it yet again for his innovative bravery for Life of Pi. And he sure as hell deserved it.
Life of Pi‘s plot presents itself like a fairytale, a story that is almost too extraordinary to be true.
The film centres on Pi Patel (Irrfran Khan), a family man living in Montréal, who is visited by a young writer (Rafe Spall) in need of an amazing story, and he is convinced that Pi has one to tell.
The plot then evolves into a recollection of memories, as Pi recalls tales of his childhood, growing up in India with his zookeeper parents and older bother. Lee captures the extraordinary vivid colours and spirit of the time and place, and we are swept into Pi’s journey.
When his parents decide to leave India for Canada with their zoo animals, the ship that is carrying the precious load is destroyed and shipwrecked in a storm. This leaves Pi the sole survivor of the disaster, with his only company being a vicious Bengal tiger named Richard Parker.
The heartbreaking situation that Pi is faced with is shocking and brutal. Extraordinary newcomer Suraj Sharma portrays the teenage Pi with astonishing passion, leaving the audience to feel as though we are adrift on the dreaded lifeboat with him.
The use of CGI is no doubt groundbreaking. Seeing the film in 3D accentuates the majestic colours, animals and nature with vivid quality. Richard Parker, the computer generated tiger, is brought to life with realistic emotions and spectacular detail, and the relationship that grows between him and Pi over the film is poignantly beautiful.
Not only is Life of Pi a tale of survival, it greatly focuses on the triumphs of humanity and the strength of the soul. Pi is an inspiring figure who battles through anything that is thrown at him with bravery and brains.
Ang Lee is a genius and incredibly deserving of his title as Best Director. He is able to carry his audience through an epic and unbelievable tale, leaving them feeling overwhelmed and extraordinarily moved at the film’s conclusion. A sweeping epic that surpasses even time itself, Life of Pi is stunning, heartbreaking, ingenious and breathtaking.