Life of Pi [2012]: A Cinematic Achievement

Cast: Irrfan Khan, Suraj Sharma, Adil Hussain, Tabu

Directed by: Ang lee

Also featured in IMDb Critic Reviews

So I thought of writing a review this morning, there were back to back conflicts in my mind while selecting the film to review. It happens when you have a young movie blog. You have so many films to write about, you just can’t settle on a particular film. So, I opened my watch list on IMDB and laid my eyes on all those movie posters of the films I have watched, suddenly I saw “Life of Pi” on one side of the web page and instantly all the doubts vanished and I started watching Life of Pi for the 2nd time.

I don’t like missing the high points of a film when I am going to write about it, so I had to watch every film once again just before I start writing about it. Life of Pi is a tough film to review, as a viewer; one may get carried away by its adventure or the fantasy element or the VFX. But above all, this is an inspirational film on life. 

It was one of the best films of 2012, among other greats like “Zero Dark Thirty”, “Argo”, “Lincoln”, "The Master" and others. I haven't watched much of Ang lee's work, Life of Pi is only his 2nd film I watched, the other being “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”. Just 2 films and I have become an Ang Lee fan. 

Now coming to the movie right away, the story is being told by the ‘grown up’ Pi Patel, played by Irrfan Khan to a writer played by Rafe Spall, who is looking for a story. 

Life of Pi is the story of Pi Patel, played by Suraj Sharma, who is ship wrecked and left alone on a boat with a zebra, an orangutan, a hyena and a royal Bengal tiger who is called Richard Parker. 

Pi Patel is an Indian boy who lives in Pondicherry and his family owns a zoo with many exotic animals inside. As Pi becomes a teenager, his family decides to move abroad. They left on a cargo ship with their zoo animals for Canada. A deadly storm while the cargo ship was on the Pacific Ocean changes everything. 

It is the journey of Pi Patel reaching the coasts of Mexico in more than 200 days on a life boat in the company of the Bengal tiger “Richard Parker.” It shows the friendship which was there all the time but never shown directly. It also show the attention Richard Parker had Pi, so much that he could hardly think of surviving in the sea and was rather worried about the tiger himself.

There were some unexplained fantasy element which the director or the Author of the book leaves for you to interpret. I read some reviews, a few months ago about Life of Pi, which questions the protagonist’s relationship with god, I strongly feel offended with a remark like that. That was a fantasy element, which is not the most important thing this movie is all about. 

This movie is about the conversation between Pi and Richard Parker, though this conversation has no words to it, this is about the friendship which is not to be seen but to be understood and this film is about how one can be responsible for saving your life even if he/she was not particularly kind at any moment.

I really loved a quote told by Irrfan Khan later in the film, he said "I suppose in the end, the whole of life becomes an act of letting go, but what always hurts the most is not taking a moment to say goodbye."

Life of Pi is an achievement in cinema, there are many great films made every year, but some sticks to the timeline of Cinema and when we talk about cinemas of the century or the millenium, a film like this is always remembered.

Movie Geek's Blog Rating: ★★★★