Director Ang Lee gives us a beautiful, fantastic tale of a young man and a Bengal tiger who share a lifeboat after their ship sinks.  Suraj Sharma plays the young man who nicknamed himself Pi.  His life in India is upturned when his father decides to move the family to another country to start a new life, with that new life being financed by the sale of the family’s zoo and the animals in it.  Sharma and his family and the animals take passage in a freighter that sinks during a storm; and Sharma is soon alone with a Bengal tiger who managed to escape the sinking ship and enter the same lifeboat that Sharma is in.

The tiger, named Richard Parker, isn’t a partly tamed, circus animal who is friendly to his owners.  Parker is very much wild and hungry and will kill and eat Sharma at every opportunity.  If Sharma is to survive, he not only has to find food and water, he also has to avoid being eaten by Parker.  But how the hell does he do that when they are in the middle of an ocean and the lifeboat is the size of a small school bus?  Watch the movie and you’ll find out, but not until the very end does the full explanation come.

“Life of Pi” has the best cinematography I have seen in the last 10 years.  There is a scene of Sharma underwater, at night, helplessly watching the freighter sink to the bottom of the ocean.  The freighter’s lights are still on, casting an eerie glow around it as it falls into the void beneath.  It is a beautiful and frightening scene; and it is one of my memorable moments of this movie.

Another haunting scene which is another memorable, movie moment of “Life of Pi” is the part when Sharma catches a fish, its body shimmering and glowing like a rainbow.  Sharma kills the fish, and watches the colors fade from the animal’s body — it’s life and beauty violently taken away.  Sharma cries because of what he has done, and he quickly thanks one of his gods for turning into a fish so that Sharma could have something to eat.  Some won’t understand why Sharma reacted so extremely to killing the fish.  But I get it.  Hey, I like chicken, and I happen to eat lots of them; but if I had to kill chickens in order to eat chickens, I don’t think I’ll be eating chicken.  Now, if I was starving to death and I had to kill a chicken in order to live, then of course I’ll end the chicken’s life so that my life could go on; but I’ll feel very badly about killing the animal.

My most memorable, movie moment of “Life of Pi” is, of course, the twist at the end.  I won’t spoil it, so let me just say this…

The twist to this movie came as a complete surprise to me because I haven’t read any reviews or detailed comments about “Life of Pi” prior to watching it.  For those who haven’t watched the movie and some jackass spoiled it for you, I suggest you still watch the movie because there is so much in it to enjoy; and unless you were given details of the twist at the end, it will still come as a very interesting revelation, answering so many questions you will have as you watch the movie.

— M