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Life of Pi



This is going to be a short review.  I hope you’ll forgive me for that, but I feel like “Life of Pi” is the kind of movie that is better seen than analyzed, and I don’t want to think too much about it for fear of ruining it in my own mind.

It is a beautiful, absorbing, entertaining movie, and I enthusiastically recommend it.  It is a testament to the power of storytellng, which is my favorite thing about movies; really, storytelling is the reason why I love movies.  We can talk all night about acting, authenticity, cinematography, tone, mood, texture, but for me, if a movie fails to tell a compelling story, all of these things are just deck chairs on the Titanic.  And if a movie manages to tell a story that captivates me, I’ll forgive much.

Everything about Ang Lee’s direction of this film is devoted to telling that story – a fairy tale, really, or something like the stories Scheherazade told to save her life night after night.  So what if it’s unbelievable?  Ang Lee (or perhaps author Yann Martel) know that sometimes we crave stories that couldn’t possibly happen.  They are the best kind.

Sometimes the CGI fails Lee — occasionally the ocean looks plasticy, or the animals don’t move like they ought to.  One wishes the geniuses at Pixar had a shot at this; they’ve done much more convincing work with water and sea creatures.  But that’s my only complaint about “Life of Pi.”  It’s a very enjoyable movie.  Watch it.  Let is wash over you.  Let it transport you to a world of legends and fairy tales.  It’s one of the best films of the year.


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