Skip to main content

Life Of Pi reviewed by James A. George

Life of Pi is truly spellbinding. But then again, what else is to be expected? Ang Lee has won two Oscars for his directing, the poetic Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and the perfectly formed Brokeback Mountain. Yet Lee’s name is not chimed as often as that of other champions of Hollywood. Perhaps his Taiwanese heart is secretly driving his movies to their end result – somewhat off-kilter; it would be restricting to call Brokeback a gay film since it isn’t really a gay film; Crouching Tiger is a kung-fu film that isn’t really a kung-fu film; and the ensemble masterpiece The Ice Storm (based on a novel, the writer of which was so pleased that he sobbed throughout the credits at the film premiere), which is a family drama that isn’t so easily definable as such. And again, with Life of Pi he gives us what we could not have expected.

Not since Werner Herzog’s documentary Cave of Forgotten Dreams has 3D been used with real intent and craft. From the cinematography and staging, to, quite remarkably, the editing, every moment has been considered and realised as a 3D film. There is still significant light loss due to the uncomfortable sunglasses necessary to watch it, but the bright and painterly visuals do a lot to compensate.

Pi is a teenage boy who lives in a Zoo in India. Due to economic difficulty, his family takes their zoo animals and travels with them over the ocean to sell them off in America. In one of the most emotional sequences at sea ever, tragedy strikes, and eventually Pi finds himself stranded on a boat with a tiger. A tiger, which at moments I subconsciously analysed and definitively defined as real and other times digital, turned out to be digital the entire way through. Computer graphic imagery has never been so convincing and beautiful. Another breakthrough in what is becoming more and more common in huge budget American cinema.

The film is constantly gripping despite narration by a middle-aged Pi. What results is less a survival story and much more a wonderful parable with the visual lyricism and delicate acting worthy of poetry. Without saying too much, the ending is a punch to the gut, in the most sincere, solemn and mesmerising way. Imagine such a punch!

For me, the proposal from the middle-aged Pi to tell us a story that will make us believe in God was overreaching, and while I hesitate to call Life of Pi a truly great film, I declare with the utmost urgency that even the slightest cinephile must see this film. If the death of 3D is as imminent as I suspect, it may be the only film of its kind to ever exist

James A George is the Eyewear film critic


Popular posts from this blog

Review of the new Simple Minds album - Walk Between Worlds

Taste is a matter of opinion - or so goes one opinion. Aesthetics, a branch of pistols at dawn, is unlikely to become unruffled and resolved any time soon, and meantime it is possible to argue, in this post-post-modern age, an age of voter rage, that political opinion trumps taste anyway. We like what we say is art. And what we say is art is what likes us.

Simple Minds - the Scottish band founded around 1977 with the pale faces and beautiful cheekbones, and perfect indie hair cuts - comes from a time before that - from a Glasgow of poverty and working-class socialism, and religiosity, in a pre-Internet time when the heights of modernity were signalled by Kraftwerk, large synthesisers, and dancing like Bowie at 3 am in a Berlin club.

To say that early Simple Minds was mannered is like accusing Joyce of being experimental. Doh. The band sought to merge the icy innovations of German music with British and American pioneers of glam and proto-punk, like Iggy Pop; their heroes were contrived,…


Wheeler Light for 'Life Jacket'.

The runner-up is: Daniel Duffy - 'President Returns To New York For Brief First Visit'

Wheeler Light currently lives in Boulder, Colorado.

Life Jacket

summer camp shirtsI couldn’t fit in then
are half my size nowI wanted to wear
smaller and smallerarticles of clothing
I shrunk to the sizethat disappeared

of an afterthoughtin a sinking ship body
too buoyant to sinktoo waterlogged for land
I becamea dot of sand


Dr Bruce Meyer, a significant Canadian poet and writer, will be the final judge for this year's Beverly Prize For International Writing - the impressive super shortlist of 18 international poets and writers is announced below.
Any original unpublished manuscript, in English, by anyone living anywhere in the world, writing in any genre or on any topic, prose, non-fiction or poetry (even drama) is eligible, making it arguably the world's most eclectic "broad church" literary scouting prize. Last year's debut winner was Sohini Basak (her book is being launched in Bloomsbury July 5th, 2018).

The rules of the prize stipulate that any author chosen for the shortlist agrees to accept publication with Eyewear if judged to be the final winner; and may not be entered into other competitions at this final stage of adjudication.
Bruce Meyer is author of more than 60 books of poetry, short fiction, non-fiction, literary journalism, and portraiture. He was winner of the Gwendolyn…