Now Playing: Life of Pi

by The Dartmouth Arts Staff | 3/3/13 11:00pm

"Life of Pi" (2012) has a particularly simple plot: a boy, left alone with just his thoughts and a tiger, is stranded in the middle of the ocean. The protagonist, named Piscine but who goes by "Pi" (Irrfan Khan), spent most of his childhood on his father's zoo in India. When he turns 16, Pi's father (Adil Hussain) decides to sell the animals and moves to Canada, and the family travels by boat to make the journey. A giant storm hits, and Pi is separated from his family and left alone, stranded on a lifeboat with just a zebra, an orangutan, a hyena and a tiger. Axel Hufford

Directed by: Ang LeeWith: Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan, Adil Hussain127 minutesRated PG

A highly visual film that demands to be seen on the big screen, "Life of Pi" captivates with stunning imagery and brings the magic of Yann Martel's novel to life. While a stilted and slow narrative style during the film's first half hour nearly lulled me to sleep, once protagonist Pi reached the open sea, the movie more than repaid the price of admission. Josh Koenig

Despite being set primarily in the ocean and featuring a boy and a CGI tiger, "Life of Pi" is one of the most visually beautiful and emotionally compelling movies of the year. Lee's deft direction turns what could have been a harrowing story of survival into a triumph of the human condition and everything it stands for. You'd be a fool to miss this gem. Varun Bhuchar

Though the dialogue is limited and its plot minimalist, within the simplicity lives a moral and philosophical treatise of sorts. Through beautifully-crafted cinematography, including moments of awe-invoking silence as Pi drifts through star-reflecting, glistening water, the movie makes a powerful statement about isolation, faith and the eternal importance of a name. Its simplicity, beauty and elegance creates an engaging, thought-inspiring story as we, along with Pi, simply drift through the stoic sea. Axel Hufford

Also playing: "Safe Haven," "Quartet" and "Argo"