|Pi (1998) 3.5 / 5|
I am most tempted to rate this film 3.14 / 5 .. 3.14 can be considered close to 3.5, can it not? However, the film isn't that bad. I cannot in my good conscience, skew my rating meter for a number-play with the title. I am most tempted though! :) Pi, notably, has nothing to do with the almighty Pi. That numerical constant which either bugged or baited our minds when we first learnt about dividing the circumference and diameter of a circle, exists as just a title. It's a novelty. So, let's get over it.
|Darren-right; Sean(Max)-left; Matthew-with cam.|
All is well as much as it can be in this cloistered and cluttered world of Max. We notice that he suffers from some form of mental illness and related migraines, at regular intervals. He is currently on medication for it and has tried every possible alternative in the past, from grass to needles. One day, his calculation using a weird setup of computers (more for visual imagery than utilitarian, I suppose) spits out a set of numbers 216 digits long. I know what you're thinking - no, it isn't any part of the infinite decimal sequence of the Pi constant. Infact, there's no Pi involved in any of his calculations.
|Max making some spiral(golden?) on stock firm listing (bemused!)|
Then there is a stock broking firm who wants to invest in his work as he seems to have correctly predicted certain trends. Inevitably, he is caught between these two and most oppressively, his own mind. This conflict and the resolution, which seems weird but in line with the story, make up the rest.
What the movie may succeed in giving us though, is the feel for Max's dark world. His visions and delusions are aplenty. It's further fueled when a rabbi from the cult passes on his number theories from the Torah (illustrated well in the diagrams above and to the left). The stock firm gives him a classified chip which would provide his computing system some electronic steroids. He ingests the illusions of grandeur and attempting to find all pattern in the universe with his 216 random digits, that 'somehow' appear from his calculations on the computer.
This movie is about paranoia, delusions, metal instability, and irrationality (ironic, considering Math is a rational endeavor.. or is it?). I would love to see Darren's take on Dr. Nash of the famous, 'A Beautiful Mind'. It is a strange thing that historically, mathematicians seem more prone than most physicists, scientists or inventors/engineers to have a splintered mind or a delusional tendency.Perhaps it's a pursuit that is divorced from the world of the outside to that of the inside. The more 'pure' a mathematician's work is, the more he dwells within his mind's framework and constructs. Maybe that is it's greatest asset and liability. As the Joker would love to harp,"All it takes, is a little.. Push!".
3.5 is a neutral verdict. If you wish to have a challenging experience of diving into the mind of an obsessed whiz-kid, go for it. Do not though, for it's science or math. You may at best get numerology. Good for Darren - it was bought for a million by the Artisan. Good work for a first feature length psycho-thriller.