Sunday, 14 June 2009

π


π; Science-fiction drama, USA, 1997; D: Darren Aronofsky, S: Sean Gullette, Mark Margolis, Ben Shenkman, Samia Shoaib, Pamela Hart

"Math is the language of nature". Max Cohen is obsessed with numbers. Ever since he looked into the Sun for too long as a kid, he was plagued by headache. Still, with 20 he already finished college and plans to discover the ultimate secret in his apartment: a number that could explain and predict every pattern in the Universe. His computer gives him a 216-digit number, but he throws it away thinking it's false. It turns out however it was actually right since it predicted the course of the stock market. He gets chased by rich entrepreneurs and Jew Lenny who thinks that God could be found in the number. Max cuts his hair to bald and drills his own skull with a power drill. The headache and the number disappear and everything remains a mystery.

The feature length debut film by Darren Aronofsky, "Pi" was shot for only 60.000 $ and in black and white in order to enhance the mood of mystery of the theme of synchronicity and destiny possibly explained with science. The aggressive visual style is noticeable already in the exposition in which the numbers fill out the screen or when the camera is fixated on Max while the background is moving. A special rhythm was achieved with Max getting a headache attack every 11 minutes. He is the only believable character in the story and his romance with math instead of the girl who is interested in him is slightly disappointing. Through "Pi", a smashing idea is presented: that one sole number could explain and predict the entire Universe - the stock market, love, God, catastrophes, the weather...But the only thing Max predicted was the stock market, and then the number was forgotten and the rest of the film was wasted on rather uninteresting "thriller"/chase subplots. A shame. So much could have been made with that, Max could have changed the World and the Universe, but this way, where the number was conveniently forgotten, the idea wasn't even half way successfully exploited.

Grade:++

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