1998 · Artisan Pictures
Pi — Movie Review by Karthik
10 out of 10
Directing Credits
Darren Aronofsky
Writing Credits
Story by Darren Aronofsky & Sean Gullette & Eric Watson; Screenplay by Darren Aronofsky
Sean Gullette, Mark Margolis, Ben Shenkman, Pamela Hart, Stephen Pearlman, Samia Shoaib

The Review

Max Cohen (Sean Gullette) is a brilliant mathematician.  He is also the extremely paranoid type, he lives alone in his apartment (which has boarded up windows) with his homemade supercomputer, Euclid, and he experiences frequent headaches - extremely intense migraines that cause unconsciousness and also strange dreamlike experiences for him!

Max's assumptions - everything in the universe can be represented and understood in terms of numbers.  And if those numbers are graphed, patterns emerge.  Therefore, Max is searching for an underlying pattern in the complexity of the universe itself!  He is interested in finding a pattern that will allow him to predict the wax and wane of stock markets.

Unfortunately things don't work out quite as he expected.  One day his computer outputs stock market predictions that seem impossible, and then it spits out a long string of seemingly random numbers.  And then, it crashes.

But later Max realises that the predictions were right.  And that number may have a larger significance.  His mentor, Sol (Mark Margolis) ran into the same 216-digit number during his years of research on Pi (which he stopped researching because of a stroke).  There is Marcy Dawson (Pamela Hart) - from a sinister business firm who is after his research - because they are using it to control the global stock markets!  As a result of their tampering, the stock markets worldwide are crashing, and they will do anything to get their hands on that number.  A Jewish religious group also believe that the 216-digit number is the true name of God, and they want the number too.

As Max continues to investigate, seeking to understand the number, he may be stepping closer to insanity...

This is one brilliant movie.  There are so many reasons I can pick to praise it.  First of all it is the most unusual movie I have ever seen.  It puts forward completely original ideas - the concept of understanding the universe - knowing EVERYTHING, through numbers was totally fascinating!  And then there is the unique look of the film.  The whole thing is filmed in crisp black and white (not smooth greyscaled-like high quality black and white - the movie has a rough, highly contrasted, sharp look), by cinematographer Matthew Libatique.  There's also a brilliant music score by Clint Mansell.  I can't even begin to describe the scenes depicting the strange visions Max has during his migraine attacks - they are so well put together, they just have to be seen to be believed.  Some of the imagery in the movie is almost disturbing (difficult to describe - disturbing is the closest word I can think of), and the scene where Marcy Dawson tells Max that they need the rest of the number to set the markets right was genuinely creepy!

Finally, this movie also has one of the most fantastic opening credits sequences I've ever seen.  Neurons, graphs, spirals, number charts, superimposed on the names of the cast and crew, all perfectly synchronised to the techno-ish music - simply awesome.  This is an unmissable movie, one to be watched several times!  Also, if you can, get your hands on the screenplay and read it after you have come up with your interpretations of the movie.  Reading the script makes things a lot clearer.

Other Notes

The 216 digit number in the movie actually has 218 digits when it is shown on screen.  You can see the number yourself at the Internet Movie Database's Trivia Page for this movie.

The movie's official website was designed by actor/co-writer Sean Gullette.

More Details

Running Time: 90 minutes | Country: US | Genre: Thriller

Ratings Info

I rate all movies or game add-ons on a scale of 1 to 10 points.  1 is the lowest score, 6 is barely above average, 8 is good, and 10 is excellent (this score doesn't indicate something that is perfect in every way — it just means that I enjoyed it a lot).  You'll find that I tend to give ratings of 8 and above often (that's only because I enjoy whatever I'm reviewing!).  Reviews are updated as felt necessary.  Of course, everything said in these reviews is my humble opinion only.
Review Date 27 Nov 02
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The Author

Karthik Abhiram

27-year old Taurean (birthday 15-May-82), Assistant Manager - HR at Tata Consultancy Services Ltd in Hyderabad, India.  Previously, did Post Graduate Diploma in Management from T A Pai Management Institute (2003-05) and before that, Computer Science Engineering from Sree Nidhi Institute of Science and Technology (1999-2003).

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