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11-21-2012, 09:06 PM
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Location: Toronto
Country: Canada
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Life of Pi (2012), directed by Ang Lee: After the ship that he is sailing on sinks, a teenage boy shares a life raft for several months with a Bengal tiger. While this adaptation ignores many incidents in Yann Martel's wonderful book, it is still true to the spirit of the novel. In fact, I'm surprised how well it works given the fact that I never thought anyone would even think of trying to make a movie from this source material. It is successful because Ang Lee finds a way of telling this story visually that is not only absolutely stunning but a perfect complement to the tale being told. For once 3D really enhances the viewing experience, but even without it, I suspect that this would still be one of the most beautiful movies that I have ever seen. The adaptation isn't perfect--the religious comments in the movie seems clunky compared to how those thoughts are expressed in the book and one of the closing shots of the tiger entails an unfortunate lapse in taste at just the wrong moment. But those are minor quibbles. A larger concern is that the movie lacks the sustained emotional force of the book. But I can live with that, too, as it would be ungenerous to protest too much when Lee gets so much right in bringing this story to the screen. I'm just glad that in Lee, Martel found a collaborator with an imagination to match his own.

Top Ten 2012 so far

1. Amour, Haneke, France
2. A Simple Life, Hui, Hong Kong
3. Rhino Season, Ghobadi, Iran
4. No, Larrain, Chile
5. Life of Pi, Lee, US
6. A Royal Affair, Arcel, Denmark
7. Oslo, August 31, Trier, Norway
8. Elena, Zvyagintsev, Russia
9. Holy Motors, Carax, France
10. Tabu, Gomes, Portugal

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