In present day Canada, middle-aged Pi Patel (Irrfan Khan) is sitting across from a visiting writer recounting a remarkable tale of faith, ingenuity and endurance - his life story.
Pi tells of growing up in the blissful surroundings of Pondicherry, India, until his father decides to pack up their family-run zoo and start a new life in Canada. On the journey a violent and devastating storm hits their ship. While Pi is ushered to the safety of a life boat, everyone else perishes, leaving the teenager (Suraj Sharma) afloat in the middle of the sea with only his father's Bengal tiger - Richard Parker - for company. As days become weeks, Pi battles starvation, exhaustion and the elements, while reconciling the fact that his only companion is also the greatest threat to his survival.
Scaring off a clutch of distinguished directors, it has taken the determination and unique eye of Ang Lee to bring Martel's supposedly unfilmable tale to the screen.
The film's ground-breaking CGI has grabbed all the headlines, with both the mind-bendingly realistic tiger and Pi's more fantastical discoveries making for instantly iconic imagery. However, with sensitive performances and an emotionally involving narrative, the story also grips from start to finish.
As well as earning Lee his second Best Director Oscar (he scooped his first in 2005 for his epic Western Brokeback Mountain), Life of Pi's breathtaking visuals saw it scoop Academy Awards for Cinematography and Visual Effects, alongside a fourth for its shimmering, India-inspired score.