ED KOCH MOVIE REVIEWS: "Life of Pi" By EDWARD I. KOCH
I had my doubts that this film would be the blockbuster it was touted to be since two other recent movies receiving similar promotional fanfare were disappointing: "The Master" is incomprehensible and "Cloud Atlas" is uninteresting. While "Life of Pi" is no masterpiece, it is a very enjoyable picture beautifully depicted under extremely difficult circumstances.
The story, based on a novel by Yann Martel, begins in India. The lead character is Pi, short for Piscine Molitor. (Played as a boy by Ayush Tandon, a teenager by Suraj Sharma, and an adult by Irrfan Khan.)
Pi's father (Adil Hussain) owns an animal circus which he intends to take to Canada. He boards his family and the menagerie on a Japanese freighter which sinks in a storm. Pi ends up on a lifeboat with a zebra, an orangutan, a hyena and a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. After the other animals are killed by the tiger, the story focuses on how Pi and the tiger accommodate one another during their journey on a lifeboat for more than 200 days.
Making a compelling and engrossing film with such a small cast had to be an enormous task for the talented director Ang Lee, of "Brokeback Mountain" fame. It reminded me of the World War II movie "Lifeboat" starring Tallulah Bankhead which also dealt with the issue of a cramped space. How much of the picture involves an actual tiger and how much is digital effect, I don't know, but it worked.
Pi's understandable reliance on his god - Vishnu - will be received differently by members of the audience. I understood that his faith allowed him to do things he would not or could not have otherwise done. It is surely true that there are no atheists in foxholes.
"Life of Pi" is an interesting and visually extraordinary film. I enjoyed the experience.
Visit the Mayor at the Movies to learn more: http://www.mayorkoch.com/. The Honorable Edward Irving Koch served as a member of Congress from New York State from 1969 through 1977, and New York City as its 105th Mayor from 1978 to 1989.