Movie – Life of Pie
Rating – ***
Life Of Pi—the film adaptation of Yann Martel’s bestselling book—centres on the philosophical question of whether animals have souls. The title character, a Indian boy, believes they do, and that people can tell by looking deep into their eyes. His zookeeper father feels differently in his view any depth in an animal’s eyes is just human emotion reflected back. The question of whether to interpret the world spiritually or cynically—becomes the backbone of the plot. The choice is harder than it was in Martel’s book, because here, the body is more compelling by far.
Pi gets his name from a swimming pool funny but good. He grows up in his father’s zoo, until his father decides to sell the animals and move his family abroad. When their transport ship sinks, Pi (played as a teenager by Suraj Sharma) ends up adrift at sea on a lifeboat populated by an animals, including tiger.
Director Ang Lee executes all this with perfect view. The shipwreck in particular is a dazzling. As with so much about Pi, it’s strikingly beautiful, but consciously artificial. The locations are beautiful but not realistic. And so is the meat of the story Pi repeatedly and desperately trying to come to terms with his lifeboat companion in some way that doesn’t kill either of them.
The battle which Mr. Sharma fight for his life is beautifully portrayed with feelings of both human and animal. But the larger messages about spirituality often seem forced. Martel’s story conveys about humanity’s connection with God which is not seen clearly in the movie.