A young man who survives a disaster at sea is hurtled into an epic journey of adventure and discovery. While cast away, he forms an unexpected connection with another survivor: a fearsome Bengal tiger.
Acting under the cover of a Hollywood producer scouting a location for a science fiction film, a CIA agent launches a dangerous operation to rescue six Americans in Tehran during the U.S. hostage crisis in Iran in 1980.
In 19th-century France, Jean Valjean, who for decades has been hunted by the ruthless policeman Javert after breaking parole, agrees to care for a factory worker's daughter. The decision changes their lives for ever.
A ballet dancer wins the lead in "Swan Lake" and is perfect for the role of the delicate White Swan - Princess Odette - but slowly loses her mind as she becomes more and more like Odile, the Black Swan.
A Mumbai teen who grew up in the slums, becomes a contestant on the Indian version of "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?" He is arrested under suspicion of cheating, and while being interrogated, events from his life history are shown which explain why he knows the answers.
Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg creates the social networking site that would become known as Facebook, but is later sued by two brothers who claimed he stole their idea, and the cofounder who was later squeezed out of the business.
After a stint in a mental institution, former teacher Pat Solitano moves back in with his parents and tries to reconcile with his ex-wife. Things get more challenging when Pat meets Tiffany, a mysterious girl with problems of her own.
David O. Russell
Robert De Niro
In Canada, a writer visits the Indian storyteller Pi Patel and asks him to tell his life story. Pi tells the story of his childhood in Pondicherry, India, and the origin of his nickname. One day, his father, a zoo owner, explains that the municipality is no longer supporting the zoo and he has hence decided to move to Canada, where the animals the family owns would also be sold. They board on a Japanese cargo ship with the animals and out of the blue, there is a storm, followed by a shipwrecking. Pi survives in a lifeboat with a zebra, an orangutan, a hyena and a male Bengal tiger nicknamed Richard Parker. They are adrift in the Pacific Ocean, with aggressive hyena and Rickard Parker getting hungry. Pi needs to find a way to survive. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The Japanese cargo ship's name, Tsimtsum, is a Hebrew word used by 16th-century Kabbalist Isaac Luria to denote God's "contraction" of Himself from the world at Creation. In the novel, the adult Pi mentions doing a college thesis on Luria's theories about creation. In the movie, he mentions teaching a course on Kabbalah. See more »
When the ship rolls in the storm, the bedroom where Pi and his brother are sleeping is perfectly still. See more »
So, you were raised in a zoo?
Adult Pi Patel:
Born and raised. In Pondicherry, in what was the French part of India. My father owned the zoo, and I was delivered on short notice by a herpetologist, who was there to check on the Bengal monitor lizard. Mother and I were both healthy, but the poor lizard escaped and was trampled by a frightened cassowary. The way of karma, huh? The way of God.
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The opening credits have letters or words that react to action on the screen, such as the "Y" while a monkey is hanging on a branch. Also, there are words fluttering while the zebras swish their tails. See more »
''I had to tame him,'' (Pi) realizes. ''It was not a question of him or me, but of him and me. We were, literally and figuratively, in the same boat." From Life of Pi by Yann Martel.
You will see no more imaginative film this year than Life of Pi, whose conceit of a young Indian boy stranded with a Bengal Tiger in a lifeboat amid the Pacific Ocean is fantastical yet real in its metaphoric implications. While the framing device of a story told to a stranger uses the old flashback, the lonely lifeboat is as new as any story told in the last century.
The film begs interpretation from the multiplicity of religions to the place of mankind in a hostile, Darwinian world. Ultimately the benign brotherhood of beasts and humans is affirmed not so much by lofty philosophy but by the necessity of man and beast working together to survive.
The digital rendering of animals, especially the Bengal Tiger, is beautiful to behold. The opening scene in Pi's family zoo could be right out of Terence Malick's visionary camera, a montage of nature gorgeous in its simplicity. The several formalistic shots of the boat at night are worthy of the best lighting in the best aquariums in the world. Together with the impressive use of 3D, director Ang Lee has visually taken us from the opulence of Crouching Tiger and the minimalism of Brokeback Mountain into a fusion world of fancy and reality. The images are stunning.
In the end, Lee is interested in the individual's place in the universe as he struggles to harness nature and yet live in harmony with these elements. The conflict with the gross cook aboard the Japanese cargo ship taking Pi's family and animals to Canada is emblematic of the challenges facing the gifted with the groundlings. Pi's relationship with tiger "Richard Parker" represents all mankind's struggle to live in harmony with the forces it cannot control.
"Believing in everything is the same as believing in nothing," says Pi's father because Pi samples religions from Hinduism and Buddhism to Catholicism and Judaism and wants them all. Although it is not given to us to have them all, Pi's piety practically makes us believers in the universal brotherhood.
The Life of Pi is everyone's life; the film is one of the best of the year and, even remembering the greatness of The Old Man and the Sea, Moby Dick, and Billy Budd, the best you will ever see about a boy, a tiger, and a boat.
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