Movie – Pi [REVIEW] – 3.14159265358

IMDB Rating: 7,4/10
Genre: Drama, Horror, Mystery
Director: Darren Aronofsky
Writer: Darren Aronofsky
Stars: Sean GulletteMark MargolisBen Shenkman


In mathematics, there are three things that combine the exceptional things of mathematics. One, mathematics is a language of nature. Two, everything around us can be calculated and counted by numbers. Three, if you look at numbers from another aspect then form a pattern. Hence, this world is merely a pattern that can be calculated by numbers. But, it’s just in the film that directed by Darren Aronofsky. Who would have thought if a most hated lesson by many people in school can be made as interesting as this movie? This movie is not far from math. It’s just mathematics that associated with other absurd things. But this movie overweighs my thought. As we know, π (Pi) is a mathematical constant that is still being studied until now. Some say that there is something hidden behind this symbol even associated with religion, as presented in this movie too. For what if math including those that relate something like this that feels boring at school. However, Darren Aronofsky made it with mystery, disturbing, creepy, confusing, but interesting to watch. The film is also a debut for him before Requiem For A Dream that I’ve reviewed before, The Fountain, The Wrestler, Black Swan, Noah, and Mother!

Pi GIF

“Pi,” tells about Maximillian Cohen (Sean Gullette) who built a supercomputer in his home where his computer produced a key that would change the world and its surroundings. At the same time, he meets Lenny Meyer (Ben Shenkman), a devout Jew of religion that also tries to find a number and Marcy Dawson (Pamela Hart), a Wall Street who wants to steal the “key” that Max holds and seeks to persuade him.

Sean Gullette in Pi (1998)

For this movie, Pi presents us a simple story. Max is a genius mathematician who is trying to figure out a symbol in Pi in order to figure out the key to everything. However, he has a mental disorder where his mind often produces hallucinations and a loner who has no friends at all. His friend is only one: Sol Robeson that played by Mark Margolis, a mentor who surrendered to find the key of Pi. At the same time, he meets Lenny Meyer, a Jew who wants to figure out a number which is the name of his God and Marcy Dawson, a Wall Street who wants to kidnap Max in order to control a stock exchange. When the first time I watched this movie, which came my mind is Serial Experiments Lain directed by Ryuutarou Nakamura. The premise is almost similar to this classic anime that has a mind-blowing story and pretty has a resemblance to characters and stories. However, I never got any information on whether Darren Aronofsky was inspired by the anime like Perfect Blue. In this movie, we’re provided a movie with a black and white background with a high contrast. Darren managed to make it all as if his audience were in the gloomy and narrow world that Max had experienced. The film is also pretty similar to Perfect Blue, combining two metaphors between fantasy and reality. Max with his paranoid and anti-social nature to make himself stuck with a number, numbers, and numbers. In fact, he can only answer by itself if counting the three-digit numbers multiplied. No calculator he needs and instantly flew across his head.

Sean Gullette and Pamela Hart in Pi (1998)

Speaking of Max, Sean Gullette portray his character so brilliantly. He managed to make us seem impressed to go to neurotic too. In fact, there are some scenes that I think almost make me insane and don’t know what I just watched. His gesture, his manner of speech, and his gimmick, were all shown brilliantly by him. He managed to make his audience seem to go into what he thinks in his brain. Although he is not in the Oscar nomination at all, he doesn’t need that. Mark Margolis is also great here, although he only gets a small piece. Ben Shenkman is also like that and also Pamela Hart. But, my mind is only focused on Sean Gullette. The scores are composed by Clint Mansell who also composed the Requiem For A Dream. The soundtrack like drum and bass music thing but it’s creepy and disturbing if remembered again. Not too memorable like Requiem For A Dream, but it’s good. The cinematography from Matthew Libatique is also unique. He uses hip-hop techniques like he did in Requiem For A Dream. However, the cinematography here impressed like an indie thriller movie because it’s like that. By the way, this movie is also one of the low-budget films of $60,000 just because the film also brings the debut of Darren Aronofsky.

Renegade mathematician Max Cohen (Sean Gullette, left) and the leader of the Kabbalah sect, Lenny Meyer (Ben Shenkman) have a chance encounter on a Chinatown street corner.

What makes me wonder about this movie is, what really want to be told to all of the audience about this movie? Is there a message and a specific intention or is this movie just a smart pattern that fools the audience? What does it have to do with π and religion? Well, I’ve watched this movie and I got some interpretations. Pi is a movie that tells about a genius who’s too genius to find a meaning in a number of π. As we know, π is actually an endless number even today’s human-is still researching what it really is and what it means. Max always says that nature is just a math. Everything can be calculated using numbers, can predict anything, and can calculate the chance of something that comes up. Just as he guessed the market price that he thought was a bug, he was right. The film also connects religion and mathematics. I’m not very smart with this but, it could be the same as the endless. Just like this world, always spin on the wheel, endless, and never-ending like π. A world that will never end, death, reincarnation, or anything related to the supernatural, opportunities in chess, dice, emerging people, how many cars pass by on the street, everything is like a calculation or a pattern. In addition, the film is also more into two opposite and interrelated perspectives. The first perspective is Max who is a genius and his genius that gives him a hallucinatory disease which caused him to become paranoid. His brain can even calculate the stock market and hold a key for people who want it. From here also the second perspective, other people who see Max as a genius or have envy because of his skills. People just see Max as a machine that has everything. In this film, Max is hunted by a group of people who are hungry for the key, want to change the world with the key, and want to use it as much as possible to make an advantage. But, is that all right or just a fantasy? Back again, this is just a movie, a fictional story. There is nothing real in this movie. So, don’t think about those things. But is it more than that? No one knows what it is.


Overall, Pi is a stepping stone from Darren Aronofsky who creates amazing movies. For this homemade debut film, it’s more than what I want to watch. This movie doesn’t have to pretend to be smart in order to fool the audience who don’t know anything about math or everything. This film successfully presents us a story that “should” to think too hard. It’s grim, black, white, depressed, psychological, paranoid, and interesting to see what’s next. Sean Gullette is the MVP in this movie. He managed to portray someone who is paranoid, anti-social, and genius by the gesture, gimmick, and way of speaking. The soundtrack and cinematography are good, no less and nothing more. Pi may not be admitted by some people because some people will find it boring, don’t understand, black and white background or others kind of nonsense like that. But if you like thriller or more than that, I guarantee it will make you watch it again. By the way, I don’t know at what age I stare to the sun. But it doesn’t really matter because, in the end, nobody cares. How about 748 divided by 238?

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