Ang Lee's film Life of Pi is truly difficult to describe despite how one might initially perceive it. The film's plot revolves around the journey of Piscine "Pi" Patel through the Pacific Ocean on a lifeboat after a catastrophic shipwreck. His lone companion on board is a ferocious Bengal Tiger and the story tracks Pi's struggle for survival from the hardships at sea. However, the film seeks for something deeper -- an exploration of the dichotomy between faith and reason -- and it is this philosophical insight that elevates this film and makes it such an unforgettable experience.
The film's opening shots reveal to us the zoo in which Pi's family lives and Lee's richly detailed images of the numerous animals indicate a clear delineation of his style for the duration of the film. Despite the film being constrained mainly to one location with one human character, there is always a great sense of abundance and grandiosity throughout the film that reveals awe for the magnificence of the world that is being inhabited. The shipwreck sequence in the film is breathtaking for its scale and size which are of biblical proportions. In a latter sequence, Pi watches the ocean floor illuminated by all the sea creatures before a massive whale jumps up out of the ocean. It is this kind of detail that gives the seeming emptiness of the vast ocean a sense of mystery and wonder that lends a divinity that would otherwise be overlooked or ignored. Continue Reading