Life of Pi
A young writer is recommended to visit Pi: a man who has a story to tell. A story he believes could make you believe in God. Pi narrates his life to the man, from his early life in India where he first discovers faith, beauty and love to the decision of his father to move to Canada and with that decision, a journey, a journey that will change him forever.
When Batman Begins was first released, people praised it for numerous reasons, one being that Christopher Nolan took a blockbuster plot and made an art-house film out of it. Well compared to Life of Pi, Batman Begins is as art-house as Rocky III. It is a big budget A-List film unlike any I have seen in recent years. To compare it cheaply I would say it’s like Tree of Life with a proper narrative, but that is to belittle both films. What we are presented with is a fable that dares to ask questions about faith and belief, infused in a fabulist situation that is bombarded with a spiritual kaleidoscope of images and moods.
There were many people in the screening I watched who seemed to get tired of the effects after a time, I put this down to the laziness of CGI in recent Hollywood films which has made many cinemagoers desensitised to the good stuff. The CGI is incredible; the scene where the ship sinks is a gobsmacking 10 minutes of visual storytelling, and Richard Parker, the Bengal Tiger is one of the most beautiful and tangible works of computer generated imagery I have seen. The 3D is used perfectly, highlighting the beauty of the imagery without detracting me from the plot.
Around all this technical achievement is Suraj Sharma as Pi, which was for me, possibly along with Jaoquin Phoenix in The Master, the best performance of 2012. In his first film, he commands it with such ease that you can only hope that it allows him to show off his talents again.
One final thing to say is that although it is a film covered in computer effects, there is always a real danger and truth to nature and the natural world. It’s is never forgotten that Richard Parker is a tiger, a deadly carnivore which will rip your face off if you give it half a chance. It’s a beautiful film.