Life of Pi
|Distributor:||20th Century Fox Home Entertainment|
Director Ang Lee creates a groundbreaking movie event about a young man who survives a disaster at sea and is hurtled into an epic journey of adventure and discovery. While cast away, he forms an amazing and unexpected connection with another survivor…a fearsome Bengal tiger.
There are only so many filmmakers fearless or foolhardy enough to tackle a challenging novel, like Yann Martel’s Life of Pi, but adaptation specialist Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain) was well positioned to take it on. As a structuring device, he uses an interview between a journalist (Rafe Spall) and Pi Patel (The Namesake’s Irrfan Khan), a Montreal immigrant with an unusual back story. As he tells the writer, his parents oversaw a zoo in French-Indian Pondicherry, and he found himself drawn to the Bengal tiger, Richard Parker—the name resulted from a clerical error—but his father (Adil Hussain) warned him to stay away. On his own, Pi became entranced by Islam, Hinduism, and Catholicism, which comes in handy when his family relocates to Canada by freighter and a brutal storm—as believably horrific as anything in Titanic—leaves Pi (now played by Suraj Sharma) stranded in a lifeboat with a zebra, an orangutan, a hyena, and the tiger. Soon, it’s just Richard and Pi struggling against the elements for 227 days, and since he doesn’t want to end up as cat food, he spends most of his time in a makeshift raft attached to the boat. It’s giving nothing away to say that he makes it out alive, but the point of the journey remains more enigmatic, since fate tests Pi’s faith at every turn. Whether that makes this visually spectacular film a religious allegory or not, Richard (a marvel of CGI technology) remains the biggest mystery of all. —Kathleen C. Fennessy
Pi Patel is an unusual boy. The son of a zookeeper, he has an encyclopedic knowledge of animal behavior, a fervent love of stories, and practices not only his native Hinduism, but also Christianity and Islam. When Pi is sixteen, his family emigrates from India to North America aboard a Japanese cargo ship, along with their zoo animals bound for new homes.
The ship sinks. Pi finds himself alone in a lifeboat, his only companions a hyena, an orangutan, a wounded zebra, and Richard Parker, a 450-pound Bengal tiger. Soon the tiger has dispatched all but Pi, whose fear, knowledge, and cunning allow him to coexist with Richard Parker for 227 days lost at sea. When they finally reach the coast of Mexico, Richard Parker flees to the jungle, never to be seen again. The Japanese authorities who interrogate Pi refuse to believe his story and press him to tell them “the truth.” After hours of coercion, Pi tells a second story, a story much less fantastical, much more conventional-but is it…[more]
Canadian-born Mychael Danna is recognized as one of the pioneers of combining non-Western music with orchestral and electronic elements in his film scores. Life of Pi marks his third collaboration with Ang Lee, having previously written the original music for The Ice Storm and Ride with the Devil.