A visually rich and remarkable tale with more philosophy to it than is immediately apparent. The visuals had to be great for this to really succeed, featuring as it does our young hero Pi (played by Suraj Sharma doing a very good job for his very first acting role) trapped on a lifeboat with a tiger, adrift somewhere in the Pacific ocean. Maybe about two thirds of the story take place on the lifeboat, so there is a certain drag element, and the film could have done with a little more trimming perhaps losing around fifteen-twenty minutes or so. This is made all the more problematic by the fact that we know Pi will survive this ordeal as he himself is retelling it to us, via the acting talent of Bollywood superstar Irrfan Khan.
Despite all this, the mystery over what the movie may be trying to tell us (we are told that it is a tale that will make us believe in God) together with the central performance and the abundance of wonderful cinematography, should be enough to stave off the occasional pang of boredom and bring the audience, mostly awake, to the author and director’s conclusion. Based on the Man Booker price winning novel from Yann Martel, and directed by Oscar winner Ang Lee (he won for 2005’s ‘Brokeback Mountain’), ‘Life of Pi’ has been nominated for several Oscars itself, including best picture, and best director again for Lee. Interestingly, at one point in the story the lifeboat comes ashore on an island which has a wondrous pool that fills with a deadly acid at the onset of night – this may seem fantastical, but there are colourful pools in the Galapagos Islands that are indeed full of acid, whether or not they function as the ones in the story is another matter…..