Review by: Andrew Chan FCCA AACTA
Review Date: 7th December 2012
Releasing in cinemas across Australia from January 2013
Hong Kong Box Office Takings: HK$45,058,653
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In creating “Life of Pi”, Ang Lee has not only outdone himself, but quite possibly created one of the most important films in cinematic history and possibly life itself. The sense, the visuals, the scenery, the experience, the story, the relationship are all presented on-screen in the most illuminating manner. There are some moments within the film that will likely stay with you for a very long time. “Life of Pi” is simply a masterpiece of filmmaking and the depiction of life will and cannot be possibly outdone again. It is this good…
I seriously don’t know how director Ang Lee does it, but in “Life of Pi”, he simply just showed it to the world what can be achieved by combining the latest technology and the artistic and poetic visions of its filmmakers. To say the film is visually stunning would be a simple understatement, as it is extraordinary to say the least.
What is truly amazing about this film is that it simply explores the nature of life, death, existence, humanity, survival and everything you can relate to life itself. In fact Lee has created a film about life and through his visionary direction the audience will simply be sucked into a new world that words cannot do it justice. Once in a while, there will be a film that has that extreme “wow factor” and “Life of Pi” engages to a level that transcends our senses. It is that amazing.
Pi is exquisitely played by newcomer Suraj Sharmawho sustains the audience attention through his will and learning knowledge of the world. His extraordinarily journey of survival is much like life education and somehow the audience feel as though we are learning together. His chemistry with the tiger is undoubtedly one sided and unrequited love affair, but Lee is able to bring them together not through words, but tiny and subtle moments, expressions and action. It is ironic that Pi’s survival is primarily driven by the need to satisfy the tiger own needs. I am not sure if the kid will garner an Oscar nomination, but for me, this performance is captivating and almost stunning to endure.
Lee has always been a matured director and his flirt with filming like poetry cannot be more evident than “Pi”. In some ways, I did not believe that a Hollywood film backed by a big studio will be willing to take so much artistic risks in a production, but luckily in the hands of Lee, we have a film that delivers more than we can ever imagine. There are moments in the film that are likely to stay with you for a very long time. In fact, there is one crucial moment when the film talks to the audience about letting out in life and the importance of a final goodbye: “All of life is an act of letting go, but what hurts the most is not taking a moment to say goodbye”. Lee reminded me of how one simple “goodbye” can mean so much to someone or somebody.
All in all, “Life of Pi” is not just another adaptation, but a film that no one can ever imagine it being translated so wonderful on screen. It is these kinds of films that make my hours invested into my passion for cinema worthwhile. Lee in making “Pi” has managed to set a new height for new age cinema, pushing the boundaries of 3D technology and how movies can truly be more than just movies alone. I am not saying that Pi is the greatest film ever made, but in terms of a cinematic experience, I simply cannot ask for more. Even the film ends on a pondering note, with the tiger facing the forest and taking a moment to pause, perhaps reflecting on the journey that it has just undertaken, even if wildlife does not have in-born sentimentalism. What a wonderful film, Mr Ang Lee, take a bow.
I rated it 10/10