Thursday, August 19, 2010

Short Review: Pi (Darren Aronofsky, 1998)

Darren Aronofsky's debut film from 1998 is a deeply disturbing torture of the senses. It tells the twisted story of a troubled mathematics genius, who suffers from migraines and serious bouts of panic attacks, who is attempting to understand the nature of the world through numbers. Locked away in his apartment, he peruses over number combinations to determine trends in the stock market and he frequently visits his retired mathematics tutor for guidance. Through his malfunctioning computer system he stumbles across a 216 digit number and becomes hunted by obsessed Wall Street executives who believe he possesses the secret to predicting the stock market, and a colt of rabbis who believe the true name of God can be found within the numbers. Shot on a shoestring budget with predominantly hand-held cameras, and with grainy, black + while cinematography, it's gritty, unpleasant viewing. But absorbing and riveting nonetheless. The pulsing, electronic score works brilliantly and Sean Gullette's central performance is very impressive. Pi feels like a sequel to David Lynch's Eraserhead, filled with striking surreal locations and images of haunting human breakdown. This is a superb debut, that really shot Aronofsky onto the scene. He followed up Pi with Requiem for a Dream (2000), and is now on of the most innovative of modern directors.

My Rating: 4 Stars

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