I’ve always heard the name Darren Aronofsky, but I never realized I’d missed all of his films. I did see part of The Wrestler, but I didn’t catch the entire thing. So, I decided Pi, his first feature, would be a good place to start. I really enjoyed a lot of the movie, even the extreme use of contrast of the black and white picture. I give Pi the Not Quite Golden, Ponyboy rating.
Maximillian Cohen (Sean Gullette) is a paranoid mathematician who is searching for the numerical pattern that will unlock the secrets of the world. He is brilliant with numbers and makes a discovery that attracts the attention of a few parties who want the key to unlocking the patterns they believe he is now in possession of.
This is very much an indie film with the budget estimated at $60,000. Consequently, the cast is full of relative unknowns with the exception of Mark Margolis, who I know from Breaking Bad. Ajay Naidu is also in this film for a bit, but I know him mainly from Office Space. However, Sean Gullette does a great job carrying this film with the main focus falling on Max. He is twitchy and a ball of anxiety, and was able to make me care about his well being. The connection that he has with Sol (Margolis) really has some great dialogue and helps to ground the character.
Aronofsky’s style in Pi is really different than other black and white films I’ve seen before. It really looks a little off putting at first, but once my eyes adjusted it became an intricate part of the story. At some point in the film, Max says something like it’s between the numbers that matters. By removing the gray for many of the scenes, it really makes you look at the shapes of the people and objects on screen. There is no in-between for us to look at as there is no shading or anything just extremes. Added with some interesting camera work and the film is really aesthetically pleasing.
Final thoughts on Pi
The story is extremely suspenseful and is predominately about numbers. I’m not sure how accurate any of it is, but it’s a fun theory for a film to explore. The ending is a bit ambiguous as to what, if anything, Max had truly discovered. However, the journey to get there is captivating and really pulled me in. If you’re into thought provoking films that are innovative I recommend checking out Pi.