I am half way through the critically acclaimed book by Yann Martell, which is spoken both by the author and by Piscine Molitor Patel, or Pi as he becomes affectionately known and the movie opens up as such – with the writer (Rafe Spall) seeking out adult Pi (Irrfan Khan) in Canada to hear the story that will “make him believe in God”. Adult Pi takes the writer back to his childhood in Pondicherry in India, growing up with his family running the local zoo and learning valuable lessons that will save his life.
When Pi’s father announces they are moving to Canada and bringing the animals with them to sell in North America, Pi leaves Pondicherry with a heavy heart. During a freak storm, their ship sinks in the middle of the ocean with only Pi surviving – Pi and a selection of animals from the zoo, including a large Bengal Tiger, who Pi will fear and love in equal measures.
Fans of director Ang Lee’s work will know he is well used to creating some stunning masterpieces, but with today’s technology, none are more visually impressive as Life of Pi. Moviehouse Cinemas are offering the movie in both 2D and 3D, but I urge you to get the full experience with 3D – from the hummingbird that flies out into the audience in the opening credits, to the huge whale that sprays us with sea salt (not literally, you understand) while Pi is castaway, it is such a feast and spectacular for the eyes.
I don’t think words could do justice in how moving this epic is; it is the kind of story that completely transports you from a dreary night in Belfast to the colourful and cultured streets of India, that makes you realise that there really is a whole world completely unexplored out there, worlds that would rattle even the most creative and open of minds.
Yet still, that does not do Life of Pi justice. Both Katrina and I had tears streaming down our faces by the time the closing credits rolled around, the profound effect that such a journey has on one man is quite moving, and both the regrets and memories of Richard Parker that Pi carries with him into his adult life are heart breaking. I’ll leave it to this amazing story to explain who Richard Parker is…
And did it have me believing in God? Probably; it is not so much as a huge push towards the way God works or a big dose of ‘fate’ that is handed to you in Life of Pi, but rather a constant series of subtle yet thought provoking incidents that do make you question who/what is really up there calling the shots. One thing is for certain… they have one hell of an imagination.
Life of Pi is out in cinemas nationwide from 20th December.