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Jan 16, 2013

Life of Pi Review

Ang Lee's Life of Pi immerses one to a struggle of faith, hope and survival. But despite the pious tone of the story its ultimate power is to make people rethink their beliefs to the unknown, the impossible and God by raising questions and not providing answers. Pi's extraordinary tale of survival may be about making someone believe in God (by design) but it's really not about believing or making one believe, it's about asking yourself what do you believe in and how strong is it.

It touches the oversensitive topic of religion and God without being to preachy and yet lifts up your faith. And that's why the movie works in spirit. With a narrative stylized mostly in flashbacks the movie is emotionally gripping with the right amount of sentimentality. The overall narrative however is not as commendable as the first few minutes of the film which paid homage to Bollywood with the fun and hilarious origin story of the titular character's name.

The first half of the movie was philosophical and then extremes of storytelling sailed towards the fantastic horizon of fantasy and reality in the middle towards the end. From a breathtaking shipwreck we are introduced to a world overindulgent of nature's greatest miracles. The use of 3D and CGI lived up to the middle's full potential and had me almost in tears for being such a visual spectacle.

Then comes the center of the film. The huge survival tale of Pi in the sea with a Bengal Tiger named Richard Parker after the disappointingly short appearances of the Zebra, Orangutan and the Hyena. Fortunately, the middle is paddled by newcomer Suraj Sharma's outstanding performance that took us to the Bio-luminescent waters, the world's biggest aquarium, a carnivorous island and even out of space. Cut back to present and we have Irrfan Khan's emotionally moving performance as he told the story that would make one believe in God. A story that brings up questions about faith, blurs the line between fantasy and reality and asks us which story we prefer.

Life of Pi is a tonic for the low-spirited and a fetish for visionaries. 5/5

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Armando dela Cruz said...

Nice review.

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