Sunday, October 23, 2016

Pi (1998)

Note:  This review was originally posted to my Epinions account.

Max Cohen is either crazy or a genius. He basically sits at home all day and looks for patterns in the stock market. Max also suffers from severe headaches and delusions. In most cases, he’d be dismissed as some math freak in need of some serious medical attention. He must be on to something, though; two groups seem to be interested in him. He keeps getting calls from an investment firm, but Max keeps trying to get rid of them. He’s not even sure how they got his number. Then, there’s a group of Hassidic Jews who are looking for patterns in the Bible. Both are interested in a 216-digit number, but for different reasons. Both groups agree that Max is the man to get what they want for them. Once he does, he doesn’t want to give it up. It’s not easy being Max.

You don’t have to be some math genius to understand the movie. Much of what goes on in the movie is explained in some detail. For instance, there’s a brief explanation about what kinds of codes are being sought from the Bible. (There really is a Jewish numerology based on the Torah.) You may not understand every last detail, but you don’t really have to. I didn’t understand some of it, myself.

I have to warn you that there’s a high gross-out factor to this movie. (I really wish Epinions had a separate bar for that, along with suspense and quality of special effects.) For starters, Max often gets bloody noses. It gets much worse from there. If you’re squeamish, this isn’t your movie. I’d say that as for age range, this is definitely a movie for adults. Even then, I know a lot of adults that wouldn’t be able to handle it.

Another thing is that there are a lot of themes that might not be suitable for children. It’s not unsuitable in the sense of adult or vulgar themes. It’s just that many younger children might not be able to understand everything. Had I seen this while I was in middle school, I probably would have though it was just some bizarre movie about this weird guy that has problems. Now that I’m an adult, I can appreciate much more of it.

There’s also a low-budget look to the movie. That might have something to do with the fact that there was actually a relatively small budget, but I don’t feel that it takes anything away from the movie. In fact, it works well. The story has a very dark feel to it, given that Max has so many people interested in him. (It also works well because Max wants to see things in black and white.)

The only problem that I had was when Max referred to the Golden Number as theta. I’m pretty sure that it’s called Phi. It’s not a major problem, but Max does go into some detail about it and seems to know quite a bit about it.

I’d give the movie five stars. At 84 minutes, it’s a very short movie, but it’s paced just right. The acting, direction and script were all done perfectly. I’m recommending the movie, but again, I want to remind you that it’s not for everyone. 

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