WARNING: Spoilers. There are plot giveaways in this review. (But nothing big so stop having a cry and read the damn review!)
OFFICIAL SILVER SCREENER REVIEW
– LIFE OF PI –
IMDB Rating: 8.2 out of 10 (153,132 votes)
Director: Ang Lee
Life of Pi’s incredible visual effects and emotionally investing story give this film it’s soul.
But from a realism perspective, it leaves something to be desired.
The story just doesn’t feel real enough for me to ever really believe what’s going on. It seems to me that the writer of the book – from which the screenplay was adapted, also titled Life of Pi – really went for a realistic story that revolved around seemingly unrealistic circumstances. But in the end there was no way a Boy could communicate with an untrained Bengal Tiger in the middle of the ocean and survive – at least not in this universe.
I also believed things got a little slow on the boat and by the time they got reached the island, I was pretty much praying for something to happen. And I didn’t see at all how Pi survived on that boat for so long – tallied by the marks on the side of the boat – without suffering some sort of fever or hypothermia.
But besides those points, the film was very good. The story, dubbed “unfilmable” by director upon director, turned out to be very filmable, and was sublimely directed by a man who filmed Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon – a film much better than it’s 7.9 IMDB Rating suggests. Ang Lee has incredible attention to detail when it comes to Visual Entertainment and Life of Pi is no exception.
Suraj Sharma’s performance, which displayed maturity and on-screen control far above expected for his age, blew away audiences around the globe – including myself. He really did bring presence to the screen, especially seeing as he’s, in Pi Patel’s words, “…just a skinny Indian kid.”
Irrfan Khan was quite powerful, and I was quite impressed seeing as he didn’t even move a lot. His job was to perfect his line delivery. And he did. Khan didn’t fail to indulge audiences in the emotional roller coaster that was Life of Pi.
I liked Lee’s careful and deliberate respect for the audience when it came animal harm – a big part of this film, as you can imagine. Animals die in the film, obviously. You hate to see it, and you wish it didn’t happen, but it does. The good thing is, though, Lee doesn’t hesitate to shield the viewer from any trauma possibly caused by witnessing, for example, a goat being killed by a tiger. Yes, there is a little bit of animal “cruelty” shown, but it’s only the necessary killings that the audience must sit through.
Ultimately, Life of Pi is about not only the battle of strong against weak, but about a boy losing everything only to gain everything he’s ever needed in his life afterwards. The story was very well told off the back of a good yet gut-wrenchingly heartbreaking script, but the realistic element of the movie was transparent.
Yes, Pi Patel’s struggle against all odds is an enthralling view, enhanced by beautiful direction and enchanting visual effects. But if you don’t make something supposedly in the real-world REAL, then you’ll never fully get your message across.
MY RATING: 7.5 out of 10.
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