Life of Pi Review

By Kevin Vadala on December 26, 2012

Life o

f Pi is an accurate adaption of the book by Yann Martel. Suraj Sharma stars as Pi Patel in his teenage years, and for such a new actor he delivers an incredible performance in a movie that is fueled by his emotional turmoils and life changing journey.

The movie starts out by drafting the narrative in an interview format, with an adult Pi Patel played by Irrfan Khan. Irrfan Khan is warm and wise in his role as he explains his life-changing story to a reporter, Rafe Spall. While the reporter fills the position as a burgeoning writer wanting to catch a story, his interests seem only to be the story itself, not the person beyond it. His flat and emotionless acting seem to downplay the outstanding journey Pi Patel has taken. In this, it is a shame that the movie seeks to replicate the book so strongly, because the movie itself would have been a stronger cinematic experience without the frequent interruptions of Rafe Spall.

Soon after the audience is showed a much younger Pi Patel, Ayush Tandon, who is stubborn and sulky in his fanatical pursuit of religion. Yet while the pursuits of Pi are intense, the film creates his intensity with a understandable and entertaining narration. His Hindu gods are described as superheroes, and this childlike innocence serves further to enhance the portrayal of Pi’s wacky and lovable character.

The film excels with its atmospheric and visually spectacular scenery. When Pi gets cast off into the boat and is forced to leave his family behind, both the terrible force of the ocean, with the loud crashing waves- some that even rival those in The Perfect Storm, and the chaos of the moment are thrown at the audience with tremendous vivacity.

Prepare to be dazzled by beautiful cinematography and a haunting soundtrack that highlights jelly fish fields, to glowing landscapes, and the CGI of a Bengal tiger. The digital tiger never becomes laughable, as CGI’s often do, but instead the stellar effects of the tiger portray a larger arrange of emotions inside a tiger than previously thought impossible. It makes the film’s mystical and spiritual themes even more poignant, as Pi seeks to find a friend in the unruly complicated animal.

The ending of this moving sticks close to the book’s ending, and while initially it seems to be strange and similar to popular “Inception” endings, a closer evaluation reveals and highlights the film’s tremendous capability to instill beauty into horror. It might just make you “believe in God”.


By Kevin Vadala

Uloop Writer
Kevin Vadala is a fantasy and science fiction writer currently enrolled in the Advanced Fiction department at the University of California Santa Cruz. Check out and like his facebook page!

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