Sunday, January 20, 2013

Life of Pi

Yesterday I saw Life of Pi, starring Suraj Sharma and Irrfan Khan.

Full disclosure: when an enthusiastic colleague loaned me the book, Life of Pi, several years ago, I wrestled with the fact that I couldn't see what all of the fuss was about. Matter of fact, I couldn't even bring myself to finish the novel—I was that bored by it.

Fast forward to now: there is an Oscar nominated film, crafted by Ang Lee (whom I have great respect for), based on the work, gaining heaps of praise for its visual beauty and thrill. So, since it's up for Best Picture, I took a chance on it.

What a pleasant surprise.

The entire story centers around Pi Patel, who is played by Suraj Sharma in the younger sequences, and the marvelous Irrfan Khan as an adult. Pi's family owns a zoo in India and during a move via cargo ship, they encounter a violent storm that causes them to sink. Pi, and a few of the animals, are the only survivors.

After a few days, only Pi and the family's tiger, Richard Parker, are left. They remain adrift at sea, and the film chronicles their terrifying experiences.

Seeing the story play out in this way was much more engaging for me. I welcomed the metaphors for life that were obviously being communicated; I appreciated the bits of fantasy, which could be interpreted as scientific hallucinations or the epitome of spiritual greatness.

And visually? Yeah, Lee nails it.

Though I could have done without some of the gross animal scenes, Suraj Sharma gave a delightful performance as the frightened, yet brave young boy, and Irrfan Khan continues to be one of my favorite actors.

I wasn't bored for a moment.

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