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Life of Pi | The Clapper Bored

Life of Pi

‘Unfilmable books’ have a history of difficult screen births. All you’ve got to do is check out the US release of David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas to see how things can go a little bit awry (even if the film itself is not terrible). Having your ‘unfilmable book’ movie helmed by Ang Lee, however, is a sure fire way to bridge that gulf. Lee, who directed the spellbindingly magical Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and the unbearably touching and sad Brokeback Mountain, returns here with a remarkable 3D vision of the power of faith. Whether you come to the film searching for spiritual enlightenment, or are just looking for a reaffirmation of your faith in the world of cinema, Life of Pi doesn’t disappoint.

At the heart of Life of Pi is Suraj Sharma as the titular 3.14159. This is Sharma’s first film but his performance, as a 16-year-old boy who is shipwrecked with just a tiger called Richard Parker for company, is remarkable. He holds the film as it drifts across the Pacific ocean, engaging with the CGI characters with outstanding charisma and intelligence. Richard Parker, the tiger, is another star of the show. The technological feat of bringing him to screen has put off a lot of directors in the past, but the boffins behind this film have knocked it out of the park, creating a tiger that is both perfectly real and reveals a certain humanity behind the eyes (as the film would like us to believe). It is a harmonious blend and one that is enlivened by sights, in 3D, that will blow your mind- a luminescent whale leaping from the depths, an island solely inhabited by meerkats, the wrecking of a Japanese ocean liner, a swimmer in a French swimming pool, a hyena eating a zebra…

Engaging with Life of Pi requires little of the stamina necessary for the other best films of 2012. It is fun and light, but with such a fantastical and, crucially, profound, central message that its impression will last for a long time. Repeat viewings will be a necessity, if only to make sure that you don’t close your eyes during the ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ moments of awesome, beautiful detail. This is a film of very real power and one that utilises the best that big budget Hollywood has to offer, and harnesses it for one of the most engaging literary adaptations of recent years. I just hope that Baz Luhrmann is watching (but I suspect he’s far too busy…).

Life of Pi is everything you could want from a Christmas movie- touching, funny and staggeringly beautiful. 

Title: Life of Pi
Director: Ang Lee
Starring: Suraj Sharma, Richard Parker, Irrfan Khan, Rafe Spall
Running time: 2 hoursish
Certificate: 12a

One Comment

  1. Imho, the second film where 3D added to the story instead of detracting. The first was Hugo.