- Darren Aronofsky
- Reviewed by
- José Ruiloba a.k.a. Morris
- Review date
- Wednesday, August 31, 2005
Max Cohen (Sean Gullette) is a genius mathematician who has been trying for years to understand the possible ramifications that come from the term “pi”. Using a computer he built himself, he thinks he can find a pattern in the financial markets that can help him know what’s going to happen the next day. He thus stumbles upon a series of 216 numbers that do not mean anything to him initially, but he starts to suspect that he’s into something when his mentor (Mark Margolis) tells him that he once encountered a “virus” with the same amount of digits. It gets even weirder when a Jewish numerologist (Ben Shenkman) tells him that the Torah’s pattern has that quantity of digits as well, meaning that with them the real identity of God could be revealed.
Pi is a really fascinating movie in the way it was put-together. The movie could be considered a drama or a suspense piece, but if you look closer you realize that it is pure science fiction; yet it’s done in minimalist fashion, something we’re not used to see in this genre. In a word, this is a true original.
The movie is shot in black-and-white, and I don’t know if it was because of budget concerns or because of an artistic decision. Either way, it feels right. The look gives the movie a dreamy atmosphere that helps underline the general claustrophobic tone; even more so when the movie goes into a somewhat pretentious final minutes dealing with spirituality and equilibrium.
What I liked the most about the movie is the psychology of its central character, a man so obsessed with his goals that he has forgotten everything else there is to life. He hates any kind of human interaction, even when a beautiful neighbor is interested in him. He also lives as a recluse, inside his own world. He thinks that numbers can explain everything in the universe, and that patterns can be found to reach control. Yet his life is anything but. His genius comes in hand with a series of strange headaches that come from a mark he has in his head; a mark that appears to be the source of his intelligence. And no wonder that a lot of people find his discoveries interesting, so paranoia starts to kick in as soon as he starts getting results. It’s not easy being him, and madness may be the ultimate escape…
Sean Gullette, who also helped write the script, is excellent as Max. He’s in every frame of the movie and never ceases to be compelling, embodying Max’s internal struggles with conviction. I also enjoyed Margolis as his mentor. Great scenes happen when both are around.
Welcome Aronofsky, and thank you.
“There will be no order, only chaos.”
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