Life of Pi

Director: Ang Lee
Year Released: 2012
Rating: 3.5

An older Pi Patel (Irrfan Khan) recounts his tales of youth and adventure to a novelist (Rafe Spall) in need of a good story, so he tells him about his family's voyage from India to Canada, how the (Japanese) boat sinks, how he was the lone human to make it off the boat and how he had to live at sea for close to a year with a Bengal tiger (Richard Parker!) prowling around his lifeboat. The first third is an awkward religious tract (about Hinduism and Christianity, curiosity and doubt, etc.) before slowly morphing into a movie about the dubious nature of fantasy ... and unreliable narration: there's notably something 'off' about his depiction of his plight, and when middle-aged Pi throws some ambiguity into the mix in the last act, the movie becomes 'more than' a story about survival, and more about the power of imagination and about the 'need' to believe in things like wonder, beauty and magic (which 'story' sounds better, in other words, the Fantastic One or the Grim, Brutal One he relays to the Japanese investigators?). The relentless optimism - and copious metaphors - may aggravate some, but if anything this should provide some ever-so-vital post-movie discussion.