REVIEW: Life of Pi

Life of Pi
Directed by: Ang Lee
Written by: David Magee (screenplay), Yann Martel (book)
Starring: Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan, Rafe Spall and Gérard Depardieu

Because of the horrendously vague marketing campaign, the only draw to Life of Pi for me was the Ang Lee directing credit.  Though Lee’s directing career includes some misses (Taking Woodstock, Hulk) he is a master storyteller and when he’s on (Brokeback Mountain, The Ice Storm) few contemporary filmmakers can touch him.

Life of Pi is neither masterwork nor miss.  It is, however, a stunningly gorgeous movie about survival at sea, and all the problems and symbolism that entails.  An inquisitive young boy named Pi (Suraj Sharman) is moving away from his home in India with his family to escape mounting political tensions.  The ship is caught in a storm and sinks.  Pi and four animals from his family’s zoo stowaway on a life boat and drift across the Pacific.

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SPOTLIGHT: Jake Gyllenhaal

His upcoming role in Duncan Jones’ second film Source Code is just around the corner and sounds similar to a few too many movies we have seen before like the recent The Adjustment Bureau. With trust in Jones, who brilliantly crafted 2009’s Moon, the movie may be a big hit for Gyllenhaal following his series of duds like Brothers, Prince of Persia and Love and Other Drugs.

 

Gyllenhaal broke out after his role in October Sky, landing him a role as the iconic Donnie Darko. In his early years he played the mysterious, troubled boy in transition with subtle angst that defined his generation so well. Gyllenhaal has only had one real commercial hit with the doomsday dud The Day After Tomorrow, and instead has found himself success in mid-budget films that allow him to capitalize on his ability to be the desired lead or play on his boyish masculinity like Jarhead, Brokeback Mountain and Zodiac. With only really a decade of acting under his belt, Gyllenhaal has managed to star in a handful of great films.

Donnie Darko– It is easily Gyllenhaal’s most iconic and recognizable role of his career. The cult film was initially slated for direct-to-video before being picked up at the last minute. Even so, the film was a commercial flop until a few years later when it picked up on the DVD market; especially given Gyllenhaal began breaking out with bigger, more mainstream films. Darko is a great, small science fiction film with a twist ending mainstream audiences crave. Gyllenhaal begins all his career staples here, playing the troubled boy dealing with pressures of the world.

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