Reviewed by: Jason Murphy
Starring: Sean Gullette, Mark Margolis, Ben Shenkman | Director: Darren Aronofsky
“9:22. Personal note: When I was a little kid my mother told me not to stare into the sun. So one day when I was six, I did… the next day I had my first headache.”
“Pi” has generated a huge reaction for a movie that was made on an extremely low budget (~$60,000, compared to the average blockbuster budget of ~$70 million). It won the best director award at this year’s Sundance film festival, and was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize. And although its gritty look highlights its meager budget, “Pi” is one of the most thoughtful, intelligent films I have seen this year.
“Pi” is the story of Max Cohen, a mathematical genius, and his search for patterns in the numbers that surround him. He spends his time with Euclid, his home-built supercomputer, and Sol, his tutor and mentor. His assumptions in life? 1: Mathematics is the language of nature. 2: Everything around us can be represented and understood through numbers. 3: If you graph the numbers of any system, patterns emerge. Therefore: there are patterns everywhere in nature. Max becomes obsessed in trying to find patterns in the numbers of stock market. But when his search for meanings becomes deeper, he is confronted by Hasidic Jews looking for patterns in the Torah, shadowy stock market investors seeking to profit from his knowledge, and eventually, the possibility of his own insanity . His defiance in “staring into the sun” could cost him his life.
“Pi” is not an easy film to watch. Because of its paranoid nature, use of grainy black and white and constant sound, many people will find it (understandably) grating and very disturbing. It contains a fair amount of swearing, and disturbing images. If you are easily disturbed and offended by such things, or are used to slick Hollywood production values, you should probably stay away from it. However, for those who can appreciate it, it is a very thought-provoking and intelligent film, and contains a great depth of ideas and meaning. For those looking for an original alternative to Hollywood’s run-of-the-mill thrillers, “Pi” delivers.