Refracted Input

Clare O’Farrell’s blog on books, TV, films, Michel Foucault, universities etc. etc.

Life of Pi was showing on television last night and I decided it was finally time to catch up with it. Unfortunately, the ‘twist’ in the ending left me with the unpleasant impression of having been led up the garden path and having had my time wasted by a monumental shaggy dog, or as Peter Bradshaw in The Guardian puts it, ‘shaggy tiger’ tale. Added to this was a not inconsiderable and uneasy whiff of neo-orientalism.

Like another critic, Will Leitch, I was disappointed that the author of the book on which this film is based wasn’t content to simply settle for a ripping adventure yarn of a boy on a boat with a tiger, but instead felt the need to indulge in extensive ‘postmodern’ pseudo-philophising.

Elsewhere, James Wood in a review of Yann Martel’s original 2002 book observes: “Nothing marks Life of Pi as a contemporary Postmodern novel more strongly than its theological impoverishment (for all that it seems to scream theological richness): instead of being interested in the theological basis of Pi’s soul, it is really interested only in the theological basis of storytelling. The former is or could be a day to day, lived reality; the latter is only a piquant but now familiar contemporary abstraction.”

life_of_pi Source

Categories: film

4 thoughts on “Life of Pi (2012)

  1. raenniks says:

    Doesn’t look like a beautiful pea-green boat to me…


  2. Clare O'Farrell says:

    If only it was…


  3. raenniks says:

    mmm… It’s a beautiful image you’ve posted…

    I have a criterion for fiction that ranks above all others. There has to be something I find plausible about what I see or read. It’s the only road to empathy. If I don’t have empathy (which may be overrated?) I lose interest quickly. A tiger in a boat? I keep a shark in my pond just in case one of those pesky little surfer boys comes round to “mine” and tries to sell me a WWF contract…

    Take Donnie Brasco as an example. The pet lion was a patently ridiculous comic interlude but at least it highlighted the absurdity and futility of Leftys’ existence (a little empathy right there…). Feeding it hamburgers through the car window? Hilarious! The sustenance of all professional killer malcontents, lion tamers and adopted felines.

    Haven’t bothered to watch the Pi thingy. Not sure I will. You have an insightful mind C O’F. You’ve put me off me game…


    (getting lesser…)


  4. Clare O'Farrell says:

    I don’t need fiction to relate to the so-called ‘real world’, but I do like it to be honest and to tell some kind of truth.. Life of Pi somewhat fails on that front.


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