Review: Pi (1998)

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Pi was the debut feature of the now acclaimed director Darren Aronofsky. It revolves around the obsession of a charismatic, but troubled man named Max Cohen (Sean Gullette), who is determined to find a pattern that will decipher the stock market. His former professor (Mark Margolis), who had been chasing a similar obsession for years, tries to convince him against it. Max is obsessed beyond return though and soon he finds himself going after a 216-digit number that could explain universe and help him discover God.

The film has some very interesting themes. It deals with the same idea that Black Swan did (the only other Arronofsky’s film I watched), that while the relentless pursuing of an obsession can lead to success, it can also lead to self-destruction. Then there is the search of God as we have seen in many other movies before, most notably in Ingmar Bergman’s filmography. Max is so infatuated with the idea of the secret key number, that before he knows it he loses control. He becomes a slave of his obsession as so many other people in our days.

Arronofsky did a great job in Pi. I don’t know for certain, but it seems like a low budget film with its relatively unknown cast and its black and white filming. The surrealistic, thought-provoking way the plot is unveiled though, is more than enough to redeem the viewer. The acting is not what we would call top-notch, but they’re all doing a respectable job. Mark Margolis in particular gives a very good performance.

I’ll end this review with the optimistic message that I believe the ending scene attempts to deliver: there is beauty in simplicity. We don’t need to understand everything, it won’t make us happier. It would only serve to bury us even deeper in the universe’s chaotic nature. Let your goals and ideas serve your life rather than making your life a servant of them.

7/10

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