Heads Up: Life of Pi

Crouching tiger, Booker-winner, festive hit film?

Holly Williams
Sunday 11 November 2012 01:00
Comments
Suraj Sharma stars opposite a CGI tiger in Ang Lee's new film 'Life of Pi'
Suraj Sharma stars opposite a CGI tiger in Ang Lee's new film 'Life of Pi'

What are we talking about? A 3D film adaptation of Yann Martel's 2001 Booker-winning novel about a boy who survives a shipwreck to spend 227 days floating in a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger.

Elevator pitch Crouching tiger, Booker-winning novel… Life of Pi springs on to the big screen.

Prime movers Ang Lee – Brokeback Mountain; Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; Sense and Sensibility – continues his genre-busting directorial career. The screenplay is adapted from the novel by David Magee (Finding Neverland).

The stars Pi is played by 17-year-old Indian actor Suraj Sharma, in his first ever film role; Irfan Khan (The Amazing Spiderman) plays the older Pi. Indian actress Tabu is Pi's mother and Adil Hussain his father. Also keep your eyes out for smaller roles taken by Gerard Depardieu and Rafe Spall.

Early buzz Todd McCarthy in The Hollywood Reporter wrote: "Ang Lee, that great chameleon among contemporary directors, achieves an admirable sense of wonder in this tall tale about a shipwrecked teenager stranded on a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger, a yarn that has been adapted from the compellingly peculiar best-seller with its beguiling preposterousness intact." Justin Chang for Variety also found it had a "sui generis quality that's never less than beguiling", although he wasn't completely entranced, adding that "its fable-like construction and impeccable artistry come up a bit short in terms of truly gripping, elemental drama." Tom Shone for The Guardian was unequivocal, however: "Hollywood has been waiting for this movie. Get ready for the year of the Tiger."

Insider knowledge Sharma spent three months in Taiwan training seven days a week, learning – crucial, this, for a film set at sea and largely filmed in an 1.7-million-gallon water tank – how to swim.

It's great that… by all accounts, Lee has found a way to film in 3D and use technology like motion capture and CGI in a way that is remains warm and even intimate.

IT's a shame that… while the film doesn't shirk the spiritual-journey side of the novel, on the big screen this all-embracing celebration of faith may strike some as cloying.

Hit potential Could well be a seasonal triumph – the book was a bestseller, and the film has feel-good, cross-generational appeal.

The details Life of Pi is released in cinemas 20 December.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in