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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 Scott Weinberg

"I didn't get it completely, but that's OK!"
4 stars

Pi is a stark and hypnotic little black-and-white independent movie that has more brains in it than an entire summer of Hollywood junk. Yeah, I love the Hollywood junk too, but sometimes your brain needs a meal too.

Max is a mathematical genius who suffers from blinding migraine headaches. He is in a constant state of paranoia, most of which is founded, since he is often being followed. Although we never really learn the exact source of his noteriety, it seems everyone knows that this strange little guy is brilliant.

There's the overly-friendly rabbi who wants Max to help him unravel the numerical codes of the Torah, the mysterious woman who calls and follows Max constantly, and there is also Max's own little project: To precisely predict the patterns in the Stock Market and make a trillion bucks.

If it sounds like a lot of big ideas for such a 'small' movie, that's why it succeeds. It doesn't go overboard explaining the specifics of the formulas or equations. The screenplay seems to be written under the assumption that the viewers may be interested in a "thinking-man's" thriller. It's not traditional in any way.

As the plot threads are drawn together and things become a bit tense for Max, the movie seems most like some nasty Franz Kafka story. The acting is mainly solid, with Sean Gullette portaying an cinematic loner in the vein of Eraserhead, only not as visual. (Like anything could be.) Mark Margolis gives the best performance as Max's old math professer, Sol. A little overboard with the Jewish inflections was Ben Shenkman as Lenny Meyer. He seemed a little too comic, when I doubt that was the intention.

All in all, an orginal and damn watchable movie. Special nods to director Darren Aronofsky for the awesome use of black and white. Finally, Clint Mansell did all the music. It wasn't what I was expecting and it was quite cool.

You know you love it when you "get" a smart movie. You feel wise and you can forgive yourself for watching Down Periscope again. Rent Pi, and then watch something silly, and you'll have a perfect double feature. Actually the sequel, American Pi, is very funny.

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originally posted: 12/23/99 18:11:40
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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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