112. Pi (1998)

Mathematical madness

7/10
Directed by: Darren Aronofsky
Written by: Darren Aronofsky
Starring: Sean Gullette, Mark Margolis and Ben Shenkman

Shot in grainy black and white film, Darren Aronofsky’s Pi is a visually engrossing indie that shows the beginning of an auteur director’s signature style. As much of the stylistic techniques of Pi‘s visual and aural effects are later refined in Requiem for a Dream, the film revels in the beauty of simplicity as a means of reaching into a story that is deeply complex in its themes and ideas.

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Max (Gullette) is a mathematical genius who stumbles on a string of numbers that dangerous Wall Street players believe tell the financial future and a group of Jewish followers believe will help them uncover the lost name of God. As Max’s paranoia begins to take hold of his mind, Aronofsky injects intimacy and intensity into a view of the world that is far from being logical and clean-cut as we might expect from mathematical explanations.

While the visual violence and powerful music of Pi picks at our brains with the disturbing obsessive quality of Max’s endeavours, the story structure and its final ending slowly unwind what could have been a much more tightly wound plot into a rather loose and disappointing conclusion. Nevertheless, the film is absorbing in its personalized presentation of madness and takes us through New York with a keen eye for patterns, conspiracies and codes in every walk of life. 

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