"The Life Of Pi"
“The Life Of Pi” is undeniably a breathtakingly beautiful film. Director Ang Lee is a safe pair of hands (cf “Brokeback Mountain”, “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”) to which to entrust the translation of a reputedly unfilmable novel (I have yet to read Yann Martell’s original) into 3D cinema, and he literally makes the most of its immersive qualities, with luscious seascapes, and heart-stopping sequences of underwater peril as hero Piscine (charmingly played by newcomer Suraj Sharma) battles with unforgiving nature after a ship-wreck. The tiger with whom he is stranded on a lifeboat is rendered in flawless CGI, and the pre-catastrophe Indian story, in which the young Pi experiments with several different religious ideas, is classical in its elegance. Perhaps my slight reservations stem from the simple fact that the framing sequences featuring the older, sadder, wiser Pi (Irfan Khan) telling his story to a blocked author (Rafe Spall) detract from the “jeopardy” element of the story (we know he survives), forcing us to concentrate on the philosophical aspects, which are presumably simplified. If the authors aim to conclude that religion is all about fanciful stories which help make the brutal realities of life bearable, then it’s hardly an original observation. The journey, however, is reward in itself – which is probably the point, now I come to think of it.