Sunday, January 27, 2013

Thank you, Richard Parker

 #moviereview #LifeofPi

At it’s most basic, Life of Pi is about a young man, Piscine “Pi” Patel, who is trapped at sea on a lifeboat with an adult bengal tiger named Richard Parker.  However, the film is really about faith.  Indeed, at the very beginning of the film, the adult Pi asks the writer with whom he is speaking whether the writer wants to hear a story that will make him believe in God.  Stunningly shot and filled with mythic imagery, director Ang Lee’s Life of Pi is a stunning tale of survival in the most dire circumstances imaginable--225 days at sea alone with one of the most savage beasts on earth.  And as you watch each obstacle Pi encounters , you do wonder how much more this young man must endure and why, but you are also reminded of God’s mercy.  As a boy, Pi, who lives in French-occupied town in India, is curious about religion.  His family is Hindu, but as a twelve-year-old he is drawn to learning about and practicing Christianity and Islam.  His curiosity about religion is juxtaposed with his father’s more modern ideas about science and logic.  Pi’s father, who owns a zoo, tells Pi that because Richard Parker is an animal, that Pi cannot see a soul in the animal’s eyes, but only his own soul reflected back at him.  Pi ultimately calls on all of these lessons to survive.  The most memorable scene for me is when it looks as if Pi is surely going to perish, yet he thanks God for his life and says he surrenders.  I don’t consider myself the most religious person, but I find as I grow older that I am more reflective and appreciative of man’s relationship with God, whatever one’s religion or creed.  And in this mode of reflection and appreciation, and I am enjoying the recent spate of Hollywood epics focusing on faith, in particular Life of Pi and Tree of Life.


A warning to parents of young children--although this film features a young man, beautiful animals, and a magical island of meerkats, it is NOT a live action Disney movie.  It has very brutal and graphic depictions of the death of animals.  A young child in my audience started wailing when some of the animals were killed.  So, don’t be that parent.



4 comments:

  1. Good review Diana. The story may not be as strong or as powerful as the visuals, but it is still a movie that's worth being seen, to be believed in.

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    1. Thanks, Dan. Have you read the book? I haven't, but I know many people thought the book was not amenable to being filmed. Perhaps that is why Ang Lee is getting such praise even though the story is not as strong as the visual experience.

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  2. I really want to read the book first. So it was worth it? I still don't think it's going to win best picture

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    1. Hi, Marlena. Thanks for reading. I don't think it will win best picture either, just because the story is not as strong as it could be. I think it's worth seeing and like I said, I haven't read the book. I didn't see it in 3D and am wondering in hindsight if I should have done so just to get the full effect of all the visuals, although I thought they were stunning even in the regular format. So I suppose you could wait until you read the book to see it; but if you are interested in experiencing the film in all its glory, I would recommend going ahead and seeing it now in 3D. If you do see the 3D version, let me know what you think.

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