Pi (1998)

Going into Pi, i had no idea what to expect, i purposely avoided plot details and details about the cast. The only detail i knew was that it was directed by Darren Aronofsky. I went in blind and was surprised by how much i enjoyed this film. I recommend you go in to watch this film blind, so i will not give away any plot details in this review.

Sean Gullette plays Max, a mathematician with an unhealthy obsession with numbers. This character is neurotic, obsessive and paranoid and Gullette handles all these compulsions with absolute flair. Gullette truly immerses himself in the character and, without him pulling off this role, the film would be nowhere near as good.

Mark Margolis is equally as brilliant in his, albeit minor role as Max’s friend and mentor, Sol. Sol used to be as obsessed with numbers as Max and this is their common interest, despite a back story hinted at through their dialogue it is never fleshed out or drawn upon.

The rest of the cast have extremely minor roles but all deliver in the acting department, they are thoroughly convincing and it aids the film exponentially.

Darren Aronofsky both wrote and directed this film. Simply put, the writing and directing in this film is superb.

The script is unique, complex, yet accessible and is enjoying to watch this story unravel on screen. The directing is absolutely fantastic, some inventive camera angles and shots, making the viewer feel Max’s paranoia, or his pain, or his extreme compulsions.

The music used in this film is amazing. Each piece suits the film perfectly, often creating tension and, even just listening to the soundtrack on its own, all of the songs are enjoyable and definitely remind me of the film.

The only minor problem i have with Aronofsky’s directing choice is the choice to shoot it in an extremely dull black and white pallet. This makes some scenes, especially those taking place at night really hard to see exactly what is happening and took me out of the film a little bit. I have nothing against black and white films and in fact i think it definitely aids the film in the daylight scenes, but when 70% of my screen is black and there are characters having a dialogue in that darkness, i have to question the technique.

This film starts out fairly cerebral and thriller like, but then it suddenly turns into a paranoia film, which almost has a heist feel to it. The tension is always there when intended and this film flies by with no slow parts.

I will admit though that this film will not be accessible to everyone, the fact that it is so cerebral and the fact that i feel some scenes could mess with a lot of peoples psyché, i would only recommend this film to those into deep, fascinating films.

This was Aronofsky’s first major picture and is fantastic. I would even go as far to say that this film was better than Quentin Tarantino’s directorial debut, Reservoir Dogs.


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