Life of Pi (2012) - Ang Lee
A beautiful film.
Recounting his past Piscine Molitor (or Pi as he adopts after mocking during his early school years) narrates the story of his youth and misadventure at sea after a storm sinks the ship he and his family are travelling on. And yet that summary is nothing really to do with a story that touches on spirituality, the tooth-and-claw-nature of the world and above all hope.
Visually Lee composes some stunning visages, from the tranquillity of the raft adrift in the sea with Pi and his only companion Richard Parker, to the night-time parade of jellyfish and ocean-life that light up the screen, to the devastating storm sequence that sets up the drama. Strong performances by both Suraj Sharma (who is just superb) and Irrfan Khan as Pi in the two different stages of his life anchors the film with it's humanity. It's surprisingly funny at times, witty, and the contemplative pace of the film lets you breathe in the themes and character of the piece. The narrative nature doesn't fell intrusive and adds to the film. The CGI/technical work on Richard Parker, the tiger, is very convincing and Lee's ability to frame a compelling cinematic narrative considering a large portion of the film is just Pi and Richard Parker on screen is to be applauded. The 3D is used well enough but I still have the sensation that I'd like the film to be brighter; but much like Hugo and Avatar (for whatever it's faults it did use the technology very well) adds a depth to the film and it works as well as I've seen it so far.
Poetic in it's nature, like the best films it asks you to think and look slightly differently about yourself and the world around you. It never overstays it's welcome and when I left the cinema I felt genuinely joyful at the experience of watching the film.