Film review: The Life Of Pi (4 out of 5 stars)

Life of Pi.
Life of Pi.

If you want to see cinema at its most visually impressive then this movie should be your first port of call.

Director Ang Lee has served up a sumptuous feast of a film that shows just how 3D should be used.

The colours are rich and vibrant and some of the shots are simply breath-taking.

The movie is based on the very successful book by Yann Martel.

I have to confess I’ve haven’t read it, so can only comment on the cinematic experience.

It was said very early on that it was a book that simply wouldn’t transfer to film.

However, here it is and the storyline works well enough.

It starts with writer (Rafe Spall) meeting the adult Pi (Irrfan Khan). He has been told that Pi has an incredible life story.

And so we embark on an amazing tale.

The initial scene-setting of Pi’s very early life is less interesting, although vital - in fact my colleague dozed off briefly during this bit.

The action really starts once Pi’s family decide to sail for a new life in Canada.

On the way the ship sinks in a storm and Pi is left afloat on a lifeboat.

He’s not alone, although his companion - an adult Bengal tiger - is hardly great company.

Those who have read the book will appreciate this is a pretty light-weight synopsis.

However, to explain any more will involve ‘spoilers’.

It’s enough to say that Life Of Pi is about belief and a voyage of discovery.

Suraj Sharma, in his first big film role, is excellent as the younger Pi.

The action on the lifeboat and interaction with the tiger is the main focus of the movie and it’s these shots that impress the most.

The 3D effect means that you end up dodging flying fish and feel quite drained as the rain hammers down.

Overall it’s a film that leaves you feeling good, even though Pi’s life is a tough one.

I fully expect the movie to pick up some awards in the coming months.

Film details: The Life of Pi (PG) 127mins.

Director: Ang Lee.

Starring: Suraj Sheema, Irrfan Khan, Rafe Spall.

Screening courtesy of Cineworld Crawley

Steve Payne