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.