Technical wizardry with emotional core
WHO STARS IN IT?
Suraj Sharma, Adil Hussain, Tabu, Irrfan Khan, Vibish Sivakumar, Rafe Spall, Gerard Depardieu.
WHO DIRECTS IT?
Ang Lee (Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon and Brokeback Mountain)
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WHAT'S IT ALL ABOUT?
Oscar-winning director Ang Lee experiences film-making in 3D for the first time with this handsome adaptation of the acclaimed novel by Yann Martel.
Life Of Pi is the first film since Avatar to fully exploit the eye-popping format, immersing us in the central character's water-logged odyssey, including a terrifying sequence in angry seas reminiscent of Titanic.
WHAT IS THE PLOT?
An inquisitive writer (Rafe Spall) turns up unexpectedly at the door of Pi Patel (Irrfan Khan), having been told the stranger's life story deserves to be immortalised in print.
In flashback, Pi recounts his youth as the son of a circus owner (Adil Hussain), who decided to sell the family business in Pondicherry and emigrate to Canada with his wife, Gita (Tabu), and two boys.
A raging storm causes the Japanese freighter to overturn and young Pi (Suraj Sharma) escapes in a lifeboat along with a zebra, orang-utan, hyena and a tiger called Richard Parker.
The rest of the clan perish at sea.
As the days pass, the predators prevail until just Richard Parker and Pi remain, trapped together in a vast expanse of water.
"I'm afraid his last meal will be a skinny, vegetarian boy," quips the trembling hero in voiceover.
IS IT ANY GOOD?
Life Of Pi is a deeply moving tribute to the endurance of the human spirit in the aftermath of senseless tragedy.
Lee's vision is breathtaking and entire sequences have been masterfully choreographed to take full advantage of the depth that 3D brings to the big screen.
It's a tour-de-force of technical wizardry.
Yet all of this gorgeous wrapping would mean nothing without a deep emotional core and, once again, Lee elicits stunning performances from his ensemble cast that leave us choking back tears.