Life of Pi
The movie, like the book, is divided into three segments. The first introduces us to the central character, Pi Patel (Suraj Sharma), whose name is short for "Piscene," but who changes it because it sounds too much like "pissing." We are given a brief primer of his early life and an exploration of his views of faith, a morphing philosophy that includes elements of Hinduism, Christianity, and Islam. Essentially, he simply wants to "know" God, so he cherry-picks various aspects of different religions to create his own iteration. In India, Pi's family owns a zoo, so he becomes comfortable around the animals, although he learns a harsh lesson about the true nature of tigers when his father (Adil Hussain)
forces him to watch an adult male Bengal, Robert Parker, make a meal of a live goat. Eventually, economic issues force the Patel family to emigrate to Canada. They, as well as the zoo's animal occupants, are packed aboard a freighter that makes the ocean crossing. In rough seas near the Marinas Trench, the ship sinks. The only survivors are Pi and four animals.
The shipwreck occurs roughly 45 minutes into the proceedings. The next hour, which comprises the second segment of the movie, explores the difficulties of crossing the Pacific on a 20-foot long lifeboat. Three of the four animals - a zebra, a hyena, and an orangutan - are quickly devoured by the fourth, Richard Parker. Pi abandons the lifeboat for an improvised raft he engineers (which is tethered to the boat), but circumstances eventually force him to forge an uneasy co-existence with the tiger. To do that, he has to prove himself to be the alpha male so he won't be attacked.
Thematically, Life of Pi is as much about faith as it is about survival, arguing that faith is necessary to survival.
Pi believes it is the will of god that allows him to stay alive for more than 200 days at sea. His beliefs are not
traditional - early in the film, his father chides him for attempting to follow so many different religions - but he
would describe himself as deeply spiritual. His journey is the will of god and, like Job, he doggedly accepts every
setback without cursing the divine being to whom he prays.