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Overall Rating

Awesome: 34.38%
Worth A Look53.13%
Average: 7.29%
Pretty Bad: 4.17%
Total Crap: 1.04%

6 reviews, 60 user ratings

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by Filmink Magazine (owes us money)

"A boldly audacious film that wires right into your synapses."
4 stars

PI is a film of almost hypnotic originality. Not since David Lynch's stunning debut Eraserhead has a film spun such an intriguing and devouring web. This first feature from young New Yorker Darren Aronofsky is so cerebral that it's almost alienating, so rich in ideas and imagination as to be practically indigestible. But that's Aronofsky's provocative talent: he just manages to stay inside the line. No matter how hard it pushes, PI is impossible to ignore.

Max Cohen (Gullette) is a highly-strung genius who believes that mathematics is the language of nature. He spends his days holed up in his apartment scouring the stock exchange for a guiding formula that he can crack. When he links up with a smart mouthed Hassidic Jew (Shenkman), Cohen realises that the numbers inside his head might work not just to break the stock market, but as a direct line to God himself. With his mind going into meltdown, Cohen's head becomes a valuable commodity as a gang of Wall Street heavies want his answers, and a group of hard hitting Rabbis want him to hook them up with the big man.

Filmed in smudgy, washed out black-and-white, PI is a non-negotiable formula for complete and utter weirdness. Aronofsky unravels his story at a stagnant but somehow hectic pace. Nothing much happens in the way of action, but the ideas pour out so quickly that the film bolts like a freight train. With reckless abandon, Aronofsky throws everything into a boiling pot and lets the ingredients steam and collide with each other. And what a witch's brew it is: maths as a soul language, madness as prophecy, computers gaining consciousness by decoding their composition, the stock exchange as a prime example of organised chaos, and religion as a series of rigid and tabulated formulas. PI is a real head trip, in the most literal sense of the term.

But while Aronofsky has intelligence in spades, he lacks a little something equally as important: soul. If he had have managed to tap into the tortured humanity of his film a bit more, Aronofsky could have made a work with slightly more resonance. PI has a silicone chip instead of a heart, and manages to engage solely as a neuron busting intellectual puzzle. Its central character is a total enigma, inaccessible from every angle, and the audience is never really let in.

But sometimes an intellectual exercise can be mesmerising enough to succeed on its own terms.

PI is a boldly audacious, uncompromising film that wires right into your synapses and puts you on pulse from beginning to end. An extraordinary achievement from a director to watch. ---Erin Free

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originally posted: 07/19/99 22:38:35
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User Comments

10/05/18 morris campbell gripping decent into madness a great debut 4 stars
12/29/13 Marty Somewhat accesible math film which is rare. Agree style>substance but engaging and new 4 stars
7/24/12 Quigley A film that manages to make math interesting has my highest respect. 5 stars
6/20/09 Beefsolver Aronofsky achieves with a profound debut film as impenetrable as the number itself. 4 stars
1/15/09 FrankNFurter Huh?Incomprehensible, but visually stunning. Quite a mixture... 3 stars
4/17/07 Marko Excellent, grainy cinematography, unusual plot- worth seeing at least once! 4 stars
3/31/07 Edler Too cute and the ending was lame. 3 stars
3/28/07 fools♫gold I can't say it "made me think" as much as, well, half of the movies out there. 2/5 or 3/5. 2 stars
1/15/06 chris. i want it again 5 stars
5/13/05 Indrid Cold Mind-bending and disturbing. Intense, grainy b&w look is stunning. 5 stars
2/27/05 Linlymes real original ideas and very good camera and cut. pictures burn into your brain. 5 stars
1/09/05 Abbath More style than substance. Was just a bore, despite the interesting subject matter. 1 stars
6/13/04 Geoff Johnson Excellent movie, on multiple levels - worth multiple watchings 5 stars
4/30/04 Gray I know how max feels 5 stars
6/07/03 Manuel Vera A contribution to the mind from a brilliant perspepective 5 stars
3/31/03 Nicole Completely strange 5 stars
3/22/03 Skankin' inThePit excellent and origonal movie(up there with donnie darko on my list, but DD is my fav movie) 5 stars
11/17/02 Jason E UP there with Donnie Darko in my books 5 stars
11/05/02 Charles Tatum Weird 4 stars
9/10/02 Ramblin Wreck It was all right............Darren tries to make love to the camera which got really old. 3 stars
8/29/02 Hessian Totaly hypnotic. This movie is like crack. 1 little hit and it sucks you in. 4 stars
8/22/02 MaIniYaK excellent directing excellent story 5 stars
8/08/02 Jack Thompson mesmerizing 5 stars
7/30/02 erick great flcik, but how can u say one of the only good indie movies... screw u 4 stars
5/19/02 Film Afficianado most oiginal film i've seen in a long time. For $40k... incredible. Screw blair witch. 5 stars
4/03/02 Butterbean This is an empty movie that beatniks watch for artistic reasons. 2 stars
3/22/02 Mr. Hat (I'm Back!) This-is-so-cool. One of the few good independent movies. 5 stars
1/21/02 Spencer Lent This movie was wacked up. 3 stars
12/25/01 Cracked head I liked it, but it's not great. I rate this 3.141592653589793 3 stars
12/15/01 Ian Barr Along with "The Tenant" and "Pink Floyd The Wall", the best film about insanity ever. 5 stars
12/03/01 Monster W. Kung Interesting idea, but doesn't go far. Much style, just average substance. 3 stars
12/01/01 Jeff Wilson If this is independant, I'm never goin' back to Hollywood 5 stars
6/13/01 Tano g me gustaria obtener el número de 216 digitos... 4 stars
6/04/01 Basil Makes you feel like your going crazy with him. 5 stars
2/26/01 The Bomb 69 felt exhausted when it ended, bold and very original premise, not for most people (a shame) 5 stars
1/18/01 mike Best independent film since Clerk, this is a credit to independent filmmakers everywhere. 5 stars
11/09/00 viking An original but disturbing idea 4 stars
10/02/00 Madoc69 Not an easy movie but a very good one 4 stars
9/06/00 Boy In The Designer Bubble Bought the DVD, grainy picture but brilliant story makes it worth it. 5 stars
6/26/00 stranded on the Island Second-best movie of 99 (to Run Lola Run); Surreal and makes you think. Loved it! 5 stars
2/14/00 Shelagh Really unusual - a film that makes you work !! 4 stars
7/27/99 emperor great film 4 stars
7/21/99 danm Eerie, brainraping, and prophetic. Its like a cinematic drug. I have to see it again. 5 stars
7/15/99 J. Random Hacker Anyone else keep flashing back to "Snow Crash"? 5 stars
6/28/99 Steve Bashakus Beautifully paranoid and kinetic. I'm still twitching..... 5 stars
6/22/99 Elizaveta Must be watched again... 4 stars
4/15/99 Jon Jackson Great movie, loved the drill, his neighbor was fine. 4 stars
1/30/99 davebo great camera shots, loved the idea, very well done, superb dvd options :) 5 stars
12/02/98 Evil Buffy this movie was so cool. paranoid and terrifically shot. and of the neatest films i've seen 5 stars
10/24/98 grunter nice cinematography; dead-ended with cliche sub-Lynchian finale 3 stars
10/23/98 Ike Brilliant cinematography, but pretentious narration. Unrealistic, but nicely tense. 4 stars
10/18/98 Chris Very Fast Paced Dark Movie! 4 stars
10/16/98 aaron sias loved it 4 stars
10/01/98 Devin Mckay I enjoy a nice mindfuck every now and again 5 stars
9/29/98 Gamma Some of the story was hard to follow, but overall a terrific indie flick 4 stars
9/12/98 Melanie No surprises, blah, not impressed 2 stars
9/06/98 Gary Very strange but keep you interested 4 stars
8/24/98 The Capital City Goofball Didn't interest me at all. 2 stars
8/22/98 Mister Whoopee Sci fi inside someone's head. 4 stars
8/21/98 Angelika Was intresting to watch ("eye candy" if you will). But, I left feeling a little worn. 4 stars
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  10-Jul-1998 (R)
  DVD: 24-Apr-2001



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