Life of Pi: thalassotherapy for the soul

Life of Pi

Life of Pi

At long last I have found a film that has transcended the book that inspired it. People who know me will probably be shocked by this admission, as I’m a staunch supporter of films created by the mind’s eye and the powers of the imagination. Preferably fed from the pages of a hard-copy book. Musty old library dust-smell optional.

Life of Pi was an irritation to me, on paper. I tried several times to get stuck into it and failed miserably. The intro droned on for far too long in a confused manner, randomly skipping from Pondicherry to the Piscine Molitor in Paris, without giving me a hint for the beauty of what was to come. Because I’m highly bound by the sacred made-up OCD rules of “thou shalt not skip forth”, I just never got past the hurdle and never really bonded with the aquatically named Piscine Patel. Which was very frustrating as the feedback from beyond the ridge was fantastic…

Life of Pi

Life of Pi

So it was with great hesitance that I agreed to get acquainted with this story again, this time on a big screen, with a pair of active 3D glasses perched on my nose, in the darkened room of the Light House cinema in Dublin. And how glad am I? That film is beautiful. In the most basic sense of the term, it fills your eyes with beauty. With the rippling muscles and soft pelts of wild animals, with their shimmering teeth and savvy eyes, with the iridescent shine of fish scales and with glowing mangroves in the deep, dark depths of the ocean, where water and sky meet to form one entity that never ends.

How could my mind’s eye have created the perfection of that weightless boat floating in the sky, man and tiger trapped in a deathly dance, the last dance of survival where man becomes beast and beast becomes human. My first thought was that Ang Lee, the director, had truly “got” Pi. It wasn’t about the story, which is quite genius in itself with its themes of running water and infinity, it was about how it “felt” to be Pi, when Pi turned his back on the world and chose to see what he wanted to see.

It’s a film that’s not about cunning scripts and exhausting twists, it’s about looking at thoughts and floating through them in a sea of colour. I can but recommend that you treat yourself to this thalassotherapy of the soul as soon as you can!

See it in 3D. I am not a fan of 3D films for a number of reasons, including the fact that projection technology hasn’t completely caught up with the visual demands of viewers and that 3D is often used in a gimmicky sort of way (Tron or The Hobbit, anyone?). But it could be the reason the entire Life of Pi film makes sense, perhaps because Ang Lee’s vision was dominant throughout the 3D production process.

As for me, I will for the first time not be reading the book, in case the book ruins the film. There’s a first time for everything, apparently.


About monicaheck
Monica Heck is a bilingual freelance writer and journalist based in Dublin, Ireland.

2 Responses to Life of Pi: thalassotherapy for the soul

  1. Have you read the book? If you haven’t, I suggest you do, it’s a great read 🙂

    • monicaheck says:

      No I haven’t, that’s the point of my post though… I usually avoid “the film of the book” and in this case I tried and failed with the book and then loved the film. Such is life 🙂

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