ADVENTURE; 2hr 7min
STARRING: Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan
Some movies are essentially about their look and in his film of Yann Martel’s 2001 novel Life of Pi, director Ang Lee’s ingenious fusion of beauty with soul is a spellbinder. Named after a Parisian swimming pool, Piscine Molitor (Pi) Patel (Sharma as a teenager, Khan as an adult) was never an ordinary boy. Spiritual, cerebral and intense, he grew up in the dreamland of his parents’ Indian zoo, eventually embracing Hinduism, Catholicism and Islam.
His conviction that wild beasts have souls sustains him when a Canada-bound ship on which his family and their animals are passengers is violently shipwrecked. Pi, the sole human survivor, is stranded in a lifeboat in the storm-tossed Pacific Ocean for an eternity of 227 days with a murderous Bengal tiger that would dearly love to eat him.
The tiger’s name, thanks to a zoo paperwork mix-up, is Richard Parker, and as Lee (Brokeback Mountain) details it, the ordeal of boy and magnificently rendered CGI beast is a miraculous tone poem. So much is indelible — Sharma’s power-of-one performance, the places to which Pi and Richard Parker travel and, above all, the communion that slowly takes root between them.