When the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union last month, the seaside town of Port Talbot in Wales eagerly went along with the move. Brexit was approved by some 57 percent of the town's residents.

Now some of them are wondering if they made the wrong decision.

The June 23 Brexit vote has raised questions about the fate of the troubled Port Talbot Works, Britain's largest surviving steel plant — a huge, steam-belching facility that has long been the town's biggest employer.

Solar Impulse 2 has landed in Cairo, completing the penultimate leg of its attempt to circumnavigate the globe using only the power of the sun.

The trip over the Mediterranean included a breathtaking flyover of the Pyramids. Check it out:

President Obama is challenging Americans to have an honest and open-hearted conversation about race and law enforcement. But even as he sits down at the White House with police and civil rights activists, Obama is mindful of the limits of that approach.

"I've seen how inadequate words can be in bringing about lasting change," the president said Tuesday at a memorial service for five law officers killed last week in Dallas. "I've seen how inadequate my own words have been."

Mice watching Orson Welles movies may help scientists explain human consciousness.

At least that's one premise of the Allen Brain Observatory, which launched Wednesday and lets anyone with an Internet connection study a mouse brain as it responds to visual information.

The FBI says it is giving up on the D.B. Cooper investigation, 45 years after the mysterious hijacker parachuted into the night with $200,000 in a briefcase, becoming an instant folk figure.

"Following one of the longest and most exhaustive investigations in our history," the FBI's Ayn Dietrich-Williams said in a statement, "the FBI redirected resources allocated to the D.B. Cooper case in order to focus on other investigative priorities."

This is the first in a series of essays concerning our collective future. The goal is to bring forth some of the main issues humanity faces today, as we move forward to uncertain times. In an effort to be as thorough as possible, we will consider two kinds of threats: those due to natural disasters and those that are man-made. The idea is to expose some of the dangers and possible mechanisms that have been proposed to deal with these issues. My intention is not to offer a detailed analysis for each threat — but to invite reflection and, hopefully, action.

Alabama authorities say a home burglary suspect has died after police used a stun gun on the man.  Birmingham police say he resisted officers who found him in a house wrapped in what looked like material from the air conditioner duct work.  The Lewisburg Road homeowner called police Tuesday about glass breaking and someone yelling and growling in his basement.  Police reportedly entered the dwelling and used a stun gun several times on a white suspect before handcuffing him.  Investigators say the man was "extremely irritated" throughout and didn't obey verbal commands.

It can be hard to distinguish among the men wearing grey suits and regulation haircuts on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington. But David Margolis always brought a splash of color.

It wasn't his lovably disheveled wardrobe, or his Elvis ring, but something else: the force of his flamboyant personality. Margolis, a graduate of Harvard Law School, didn't want to fit in with the crowd. He wanted to stand out.

Montgomery Education Foundation's Brain Forest Summer Learning Academy was spotlighted Wednesday at Carver High School.  The academic-enrichment program is for rising 4th, 5th, and 6th graders in the Montgomery Public School system.  Community Program Director Dillion Nettles, says the program aims to prevent learning loss during summer months.  To find out how your child can participate in next summer's program visit Montgomery-ed.org

A police officer is free on bond after being arrested following a rash of road-sign thefts in southeast Alabama.  Brantley Police Chief Titus Averett says officer Jeremy Ray Walker of Glenwood is on paid leave following his arrest in Pike County.  The 30-year-old Walker is charged with receiving stolen property.  Lt. Troy Johnson of the Pike County Sheriff's Office says an investigation began after someone reported that Walker was selling road signs from Crenshaw County.  Investigators contacted the county engineer and learned signs had been reported stolen from several roads.

Pages

A Boy, A Boat, A Tiger: Reflecting On 'Life Of Pi'

Nov 22, 2012
Originally published on November 23, 2012 1:54 pm

Director Ang Lee has a surprising affinity for the Indian hero of Life of Pi — that's his name, Pi, and he's seen at several ages but principally as a 17-year-old boy adrift on a lifeboat in the South Pacific. He's the lone survivor of a shipwreck that killed the crew, his family and a variety of zoo animals his father was transporting to North America for sale.

Actually, Pi is the lone human survivor. He shares his boat and its dwindling food supplies with a man-eating Bengal tiger.

Lee is a director whose works I've admired more than loved. All of his movies — among them Sense and Sensibility, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Brokeback Mountain, even Hulk — center on emotions that bump up against rigid codes of behavior — emotions that can't be suppressed and finally erupt.

Lee's range of genres and settings is impressive, but there's something about his meticulousness that keeps me at a distance. I know that many people loved Brokeback Mountain, but I got hung up on the mythical cowboy iconography, that forbidden love sanctified by purple mountain majesties. Lee makes movies about giving in to passion — without seeming to let go.

But Life of Pi is different. Most of the film is a flashback, a tale told to a writer by the middle-aged Pi. And the way Lee depicts it — in a style that's typically fastidious and arty — is astonishingly in sync with his narrator.

That lifeboat in which most of the movie takes place is a wondrous set, not realistic but not fake, either — transcendentally in-between. The water is ultra-ultramarine, the sea a mirror in which clouds above seem to mingle with sharks, dorados, luminous jellyfish, even whales below.

The orange of the tiger burns as bright as in William Blake's immortal poem. The 3-D is brilliantly effective in creating multiple planes of reality, and it also allows Lee to hold shots for longer than any studio would let him if not for that marvelously immersive technology.

This isn't just a gorgeous survival story: The search for higher meaning runs all through the movie, as it does through Yann Martel's best-selling novel.

Growing up, Pi was drawn to multiple faiths. He thanks Vishnu for introducing him to Christ while rolling out his prayer mat to honor Allah. The kid subscribes to everything. But on the lifeboat, it seems as if none of his many gods will even acknowledge his existence. He's terribly alone — except, of course, for you-know-who.

And talk about a mismatched buddy picture! Because of a bureaucratic screw-up, the tiger bears the name of the man who caught him — Richard Parker. But despite that human moniker, the beast is never anthropomorphized. For long stretches, Pi stares at the tiger with both awe and dread.

The young actor Suraj Sharma has a good, wiry presence — he's alert to everything, as he needs to be. Irrfan Khan as the older Pi has the more thankless job, largely just sitting and telling his story to a writer played by Rafe Spall. Those framing scenes are awfully clunky, but against all odds they pay off. The movie has a sting in its tail that puts what you've seen in a startlingly harsh context.

The overcontrolled Lee has gone with his strengths and made a movie that's passionately overcontrolled. If it seems one step removed from reality, under glass, with twinkles of magic that are obviously computer-generated, well, that penchant for artifice is the key to the film. Like Pi, Lee believes with all his heart in the transformative power of storytelling.

Only one thing about this lovely movie saddens me. Once upon a time, audiences would say, "Wow! How'd they do that!!??" Some people might read about how it was done later; most would never find out. Now, you can't get away from the behind-the-scenes documentaries on cable and the Internet. The DVD will have a raft of extras showing Richard Parker and that lifeboat at every stage of its computer generation. I wish we could just say, "Wow!" and leave it at that.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

The new movie "Life of Pi" is adapted from the 2001, best-selling novel by Yann Martel. Told mostly in flashback, it's about an Indian boy who survives a shipwreck and is lost at sea, adrift on a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger. The movie was shot in 3-D. The Bengal tiger was created with computer graphics. The movie was directed by Ang Lee. David Edelstein has this review.

DAVID EDELSTEIN, BYLINE: Ang Lee has a surprising affinity for the Indian hero of "Life of Pi." - That's his name - Pi - and he's seen at several ages but principally as a 17-year-old boy adrift on a lifeboat in the South Pacific; the lone survivor of a shipwreck that killed the crew, his family, and a variety of zoo animals his father was transporting for sale to North America. Actually, Pi is the lone human survivor. He shares his boat, and its dwindling food supplies, with a man-eating Bengal tiger.

Lee is a director whose works I've admired more than loved. All his movies - among them, "Sense and Sensibility," "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," "Brokeback Mountain," even "Hulk" - center on emotions that bump up against rigid codes of behavior; emotions that can't be suppressed and finally, erupt.

Lee's range of genres and settings, is impressive. But there's something about his meticulousness that keeps me at a distance. I know that many people loved "Brokeback Mountain," but I got hung up on the mythical cowboy iconography; that forbidden love, sanctified by purple mountain majesties. Lee makes movies about giving in to passion, without seeming to let go.

But "Life of Pi" is different. Most of the film is a flashback; a tale told to a writer, by the middle-aged Pi. And the way Lee depicts it - in a style that's typically fastidious and arty - is astonishingly in sync with his narrator. That lifeboat in which most of the movie takes place, is a wondrous set; not realistic but not fake, either - transcendentally in-between. The water is ultra-ultramarine; the sea, a mirror in which clouds above seem to mingle with sharks, dorados, luminous jellyfish, even whales below.

The orange of the tiger burns as bright as in William Blake's immortal poem. The 3-D is brilliantly effective in creating multiple planes of reality, and it also allows Lee to hold shots for longer than any studio would let him, if not for that marvelously immersive technology. This isn't just a gorgeous survival story. The search for higher meaning runs all through the movie, as it does through Yann Martel's best-selling novel.

Growing up, Pi was drawn to multiple faiths. He thanks Vishnu for introducing him to Christ, while rolling out his prayer mat to honor Allah. The kid subscribes to everything. But on that lifeboat, it seems as if none of his many gods will even acknowledge his existence. He's terribly alone - except, of course, for you-know-who.

And talk about a mismatched buddy picture. Because of a bureaucratic screw-up, the tiger bears the name of the man who caught him - Richard Parker. But despite that human moniker, the beast is never anthropomorphized. For long stretches, Pi stares at the tiger with both awe and dread.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "LIFE OF PI")

SURAJ SHARMA: (as Pi) I never thought a small piece of shade could bring me so much happiness; that a pile of tools - a bucket, a knife, a pencil - might become my greatest treasures. Or that knowing Richard Parker was here, might ever bring me peace. In times like these, I remember that he has as little experience with the real world as I do. We were both raised in a zoo, by the same master. Now, we've been orphaned; left to face our ultimate master together. Without Richard Parker, I would have died by now. My fear of him, keeps me alert. Tending to his needs gives my life purpose.

EDELSTEIN: The young actor Suraj Sharma has a good, wiry presence - he's alert to everything, as he needs to be. Irrfan Khan, as the older Pi, has the more thankless job; largely, just sitting and telling his story to a writer, played by Rafe Spall. Those framing scenes are awfully clunky. But against all odds, they pay off. The movie has a sting in its tail that puts what you've seen in a startlingly harsh context.

The overcontrolled Ang Lee has gone with his strengths, and made a movie that's passionately overcontrolled. If it seems one step removed from reality, under glass, with twinkles of magic that are obviously computer-generated - well, that penchant for artifice is the key to the film. Like Pi, Lee believes, with all his heart, in the transformative power of storytelling.

Only one thing about this lovely movie saddens me. Once upon a time, audiences would say, wow! How'd they do that? Some people might read about how it was done later; most would never find out. Now, you can't get away from the behind-the-scenes documentaries on cable and the Internet. The DVD will have a raft of extras, showing Richard Parker and that lifeboat at every stage of its computer generation. I wish we could just say, wow! and leave it at that.

GROSS: David Edelstein is film critic for New York Magazine. You can download podcasts of our show, at freshair.npr.org; and you can follow us on Twitter, at nprfreshair, and on Tumblr, at nprfreshair.tumblr.com. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.