Pi (1998) / Drama-Thriller
MPAA Rated: R for language and some disturbing images
Running Time: 84 min.
Cast: Sean Gulette, Mark Margolis, Ben Shenkman, Pamela Hart, Stephen Perlman
Director: Darren Aronofsky
Screenplay: Darren Aronofsky
Review published January 12, 1999
A mathematical genius thinks there is a pattern to life and the universe and tries to learn about everything through the numbers and patterns around him. One day he meets an orthodox Jewish man who asks Max's help in solving a clue in the Torah; a word that was 216 numbers. Max uses a super-chip for his computer provided by a powerful Wall Street firm, who also wants to use Max's mind to predict the swings of the stock market. Unfortunately, the closer Max gets to the ultimate solution, the more in danger he becomes to succumbing to his being consumed by his obsession.
A refreshing and wholly original cerebral thriller, with black & white photography and an overwhelming sense of style. It doesn't always make much sense, but it's always interesting, and makes you think while you're trying to figure out what's going on. Aronofsky does a nice job visually, and a fittingly terrific electronica soundtrack adds to the atmosphere. However, the acting is amateurish at best, and while it is for the most part engrossing, it isn't always good, with a needless thriller-type subplot involving the Wall Street firm. The weirdness of the film isn't for everybody. People into math, art films, and overall surrealism will love it...everyone else will simply scratch their heads in bewilderment.
©1999 Vince Leo