26 dic. 2012

My Review: Life of Pi (10/10)

¨All of life is an act of letting go but what hurts the most is not taking a moment to say goodbye.¨

This film reminded me of why I love movies so much. Even though it is very hard to come across these gems nowadays, once you finally discover one you completely fall in love with it and are reminded why you fell in love with movies in the first place: it is just such a magical and emotional experience. Life of Pi is among the 3 best films of 2012 and despite my dislike towards 3D movies in general, I loved its use here. The art direction, visual effects, and cinematography were astonishing; it was one of the most beautiful films I´ve seen. This is a film you will want to see in 3D and enjoy the experience as much as possible because in my opinion this is the best use in 3D that I´ve seen. Life of Pi is based on the successful novel written by Yann Martel which many considered impossible to adapt to the big screen, but Ang Lee found a way to do it yet again.  Lee amazed me in 2000 with his wonderful Chinese film, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. He has always been a magician artistically speaking. He also did a wonderful job with the storytelling and cinematography in Brokeback Mountain, but in Life of Pi he directs his best and most complete film to date. I left the theater totally satisfied and amazed with the wonderful visual experience. I also enjoyed the performances and the storytelling; so I have nothing really negative to critique about Lee´s work here. I also love climatic twist endings and this film has one of the best I´ve seen since The Sixth Sense. This is a masterpiece and a must see movie for all.

A writer (Rafe Spall) has been sent by an acquaintance to visit a man named Pi Patel (Irrfan Khan) who has a story to tell him that will make him believe in God. Pi receives the writer kindly and while he cooks for the man he begins to narrate his story. The writer is curious to find out what Pi has to tell him and he patiently listens to him as he narrates his story from the very beginning. He explains how he got his name, what his family was doing in India at the time, and so on. Of course none of this is really what the writer is expecting to hear until Pi gets to the heart of the story. He explains that his family owned a zoo and that his father suddenly decided to move them all to Canada. While they are all (including the animals) on their way to Canada on a carrier ship a heavy storm intercepts them and the ship sinks. Pi (the younger version played by Suraj Sharma) manages to survive along with a couple animals: an orangutan, a zebra, a hyena, and a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. Pi struggles to survive along with the animals in the small lifeboat in middle of the Pacific Ocean as he encounters many obstacles that will test his faith. The film is told in a similar fashion to Slumdog Millionaire (through flashbacks which happen to be longer than the present scenes) as we have the narrator telling his incredible story to the writer.

Suraj Sharma is really great here as the main character. Incredibly he has had no prior experience as a film actor, but he singlehandedly delivers this movie considering he is in the boat almost the entire time on his own (the animals were added mostly through CGI). A lot of credit has to be given to the visual effects department considering the animals look so real and believable. This film is really beautiful to watch, everything about it is just wonderful, including the powerful climatic ending which had a great message. I thought the film worked as sort of a parable more than an actual metaphor. I haven’t read the novel, but I really can´t see how it can be better than the film. Lee´s imagination works better than mine, and he has created a wonderful film with many memorable scenes that will stick with me forever. The film touches lightly on themes of religion and faith, but at the end it will make you think about it. Everyone can make their own conclusions as to what story they want to believe, but it was pretty clear for me as to where the director was trying to get as to how he viewed God. The less you know about the film before going into it, the better. The film does start a bit slow, but it was a nice setup in my opinion with some beautiful cinematography, and it just picks up from there.


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