"I have a story that will make you believe in God," Pi (Irrfan Khan) tells an author (Rafe Spall) who has come to do research on his life for a book he plans to write. Indeed, Pi has been through some truly unique situations, more than enough to make for a pretty fascinating read—and film. Based on the best-selling novel by Yann Martel and adapted for the screen by director Ang Lee (2009's "Taking Woodstock") and screenwriter David Magee (2008's "Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day"), "Life of Pi" is one of the year's most gripping dramas, a visual wonderstruck with an emotional chord that reverberates far beyond the awesome imagery. Lee covers a lot of big themes—about the fragility of life; one's fight-or-flight quest for survival; the disparate natures of man and beast; the mysteries of the universe—and does so with a hand both tough and ambiguous, his tone not one of preachiness but of an open mind. If Pi doesn't quite make an air-tight case for God, he does convince that there must be something bigger than all of us out there beyond the cosmos.
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