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The Life that Pi begins virtually as a nature documentary, with footage that a lavish Indian zoo whereby Pi Patel (Suraj Sharma) grows up v his family. Ultimately the Patel family (and countless of the zoo animals) board a freighter headed because that Canada. A storm sink the delivery (in what is one of the most amazing and also gripping such scenes in cinema), and also soon Pi finds self the sole person survivor, trapped ~ above a lifeboat with a tiger.

Much of the rest of the film complies with Pi’s journey on the boat, hope to it is in rescued and also in peril of being eaten himself. The Life of Pi has actually long stretches where not much happens, and also what does occur isn’t that interesting. He awaits to it is in rescued, tries come tame the tiger, catches fish, watch beautiful visions, and also so on. It’s all an extremely lush and also lyrical, but never really gels into a solid story.

Pi is, well–there’s no polite means to expression it–he’s confused. Pi insists that he’s both a Catholic and also a Muslim. If you know little or nothing about Catholicism or Islam that can seem superficially plausible, but in fact they are mutually exclusive. Muslims believe (and have to recite) the shahada creed, the “There is no god however Allah and Mohammed is his prophet.” depending on which version of the Christian Ten Commandments you read, the an initial or second is, “You shall have no gods prior to me.” Allah is not the Christian God, and also no lot of tortured logic or apologetics have the right to make them the same. Christianity and Islam (and Hinduism for the matter) host many contradictory core beliefs, and the truth that Pi doesn’t acknowledge that speak volumes around his character and the superficiality the his beliefs. (Anyone who thinks the all religious beliefs basically say the same thing should read increase on to compare religions; one great place to start is Stephen Prothero’s book God Is no One: The Eight Rival faiths that operation the World.)

At one point Pi finds self on a beach, and based ~ above nothing much more than recognize what shows up to be a person tooth, the concocts a bizarre theory around how someone must have been over there before, and also was consumed by the land, and also he need to escape as shortly as possible. Without also bothering to check out the area to discover out whether he’s reached a Brazilian beach or a deserted island-for all he knows, there may be a highway or town only a mile inland-he gets ago in his boat and leaves. Though there’s no hint the Pi is suicidal in the film, he regularly acts the way.

There’s tiny logic or happiness or reason to Pi’s journey. I mean that’s intended to be part of the magic-that us don’t know what’s real, what’s a hallucination-but if that’s the case, if there space no rules and also anything goes, then presumably top top his trip he can just as easily have conference dinosaurs, Smurfs, Abraham Lincoln, or also a bedraggled Tom Hanks and also Wilson the volleyball indigenous Castaway.

Is Pi’s great story of life on a boat with a tiger for months true? at one allude Pi is doubted by investigators trying come determine just how the ship went down. One of them points to a claimed hole in his story: Pi discussed that an adult orangutan floated to him ~ above a bunch that bananas. “Bananas don’t float,” the investigator says. “Yes, lock do,” Pi insists.

But castle doubt his story, for this reason he tells them a brand-new one, complete with sincere conviction and tears. Yet ns was uncomfortable through this touch that post-modernism at the end, arguing that one person’s subjective fact is as an excellent as the next. What that the family members members of the crew shed at sea? What if a kid or daughter pertained to Pi wanting to understand the truth about their mommy or father’s death, and sole survivor Pi told castle several various versions, and also said with a wink and also a nod the they should think whichever one “makes a much better story”? Don’t they worthy the truth?

Like Pi himself, the filmmakers desire to straddle the fence, flirting with different truths and also realities and also contradictions. However without the ship of conviction anchoring the film in one interpretation, the film’s narrative is adrift. Pi is frustratingly contradictory and also elusive; for as much as we watch of his life (which is a lot), he continues to be a cipher. Pi is smart enough to memorize pi to 100 digits, yet apparently no smart sufficient not to remove most of his food and also supplies native the lifeboat and stack castle onto a flat raft which is sure to reminder over in ~ the very first large wave. (I’m no being judgmental; Pi himself admits he’s one idiot.) Pi mentions his extensive relief at finally finding shade on the boat-yet he inexplicably spends many of his time atop the the shade in the complete sun, often bare-chested.

Pi also demonstrates a particular shallowness of thought once he falls into the common and also obvious fallacy of thanking God for saving him (he captures a fish because that food, interpreting it as a gift from God), if conveniently skipping the fact that if he was so concerned about Pi’s welfare, God can have just not let the delivery sink in the first place. It’s like airplane crash survivors who are so certain that a benevolent God was looking the end for them; God gets credit for saving one or two lives, however no blame for acquisition dozens or hundreds of other lives. If this is the level of self-reflection that the movie brings to Pi’s life and also crisis the faith, climate frankly I’m not impressed.

A larger problem is the the film doesn’t offer the audience any reason come care around Pi’s spirituality journey. The structure of the story is the Pi is informing his life story to a visiting writer, promising the it will certainly make him think in God. That’s every well and also good, yet we’re given no factor to care about either of this characters. We have actually nothing invested in lock to begin with, so why Pi believes in God, or whether the writer agrees the his story is true and amazing isn’t that important. The screenwriters dropped into the catch of telling rather of showing: They might have presented Pi differently, probably with some bold or bizarre action, in together a way that we are intrigued by him and also wanting come know much more about him and also what created his ideas; instead we’re just told (by a second-hand source) that he has actually something come say that’s worth our while.

Put one more way, if i met someone in heat at a financial institution or wait in a doctor’s office who wanted come tell me around why he believed in God–or to be a Christian, Mormon, or Jehovah’s Witness, or thought that 9/11 to be a cover-up, or want to define an acid pilgrimage at a Jethro Tull concert–I’d protect against eye contact and also desperately look for a newspaper to read.

Films through unreliable narrators can be wonderful (see, for example, Swimming Pool, or Jacob’s Ladder, or The usual Suspects). However when the topic is a person’s spirituality journey, it problem whether your experiences were real or dreamt. What, exactly, are we to do of Pi’s journey and life? It’s all rather meandering and murky. At one point Pi asks, in response to a question about his story, “Why must it average anything”? yet this price is disingenuous at best; plainly director Ang Lee and also the screenwriters want us to imbue the film’s plot and themes through meaning. I get the premise: a boy’s attempts to make sense of the world, reconciling his require for spirituality and order in a chaotic, animalistic world. Past that, who knows?

Yet the was with this view that ns was able to find some redemption in the film. When I stopped tying to make feeling of Pi’s journey and also reconcile the film’s contradictions, the film gained better. I’ve been told that the novel top top which the film is based is a great read, and that the film was thought about unfilmable; I doubt both assessments were correct. The Life of Pi deserves credit for ambition and artistic merit; together a visual success it’s a impressive film. The tiger, for example, is mostly computer-generated, and stunningly realistic. Together a solve fable telling the life that Pi Patel, it leaves something to it is in desired.

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By the way, a stalk that bananas execute in fact float; i tested it myself. They don’t sink, however stay at the water line. This information would it seems ~ toconfirm at the very least that component of Pi’s story-until girlfriend realize that the question isn’t even if it is bananas float, it’s even if it is they float with a 100+ pound adult orangutan sit on height of them, and the answer is nearly certainly no.