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Reviews & Ratings for
Pi More at IMDbPro »

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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Pretentious self indulgence

Author: rps-2 from Bracebridge Ont
10 November 2000

"Pi" likely was the darling of some obscure film festival in Akron of Moosonee, gushed over by the cognoscenti who ask each other in solemn tones and all seriousness "what was he trying to say?" This is simply a bad film ineptly shot by a self-indulgent filmmaker with no concept of what film should do. Bad hand held high contrast black and white photography filled with pointless camera gimmicks is no substitute for true film art. When I do photographic work and my results are this bad, I replace my chemicals and vow to use my tripod next time. Laughably bad!

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12 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

Waste of time !

Author: Nibiru from Bucharest
8 March 2006

This is just the dumbest piece of sh8 you can watch.... independent film-making at its worst...

I don't care that it hasn't got anything to do with math (perhaps on the surface but that's it), although the name is pi, but it doesn't even have a story. It's just a piece of trash. It doesn't say anything, I mean it doesn't even try to say something. Its the kind of movie that;s so bad, that it even makes you think if you've missed something. I guess that;s why so many voted for it so high. It;s that movie that makes stupid people feel smart because they don't understand anything at the and. They don't realize that there's nothing to understand in the first place.

And the fact that he has all the cables and very hi(i meant to say low) tech stuff (even for 1990) is such a cliché, it makes you throw up.. kinda the lonely/mad scientist stereotype...

Sorry folks, It's a piece of S***T

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12 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

pretentious and number-illiterate, but good-looking

Author: Alex Guardiet ( from Barcelona
12 January 2000

The basic problem with this film is its content. If we were to retrocede back to the times of Lumière when cinema consisted of the beauty of muted black and white photography in motion, and then watched Pi under that light, i.e. as a choreography of moving images, then this film wouldn't be bad at all. Actually, as I was watching it I realised how easy it was to turn what is essentially a bad film into a quite satisfactory cinematic experience: simply turn off the sound (if in the cinema, cover your ears). Whoever was in charge of the photography had a good sense of what he was doing. It even is related to silent cinema: the dream-sequences which show the mathematician doing a sort of brain surgery on his own brain are an obvious quote of or homage to Buñuel's Chien Andalou. So what is amiss with its content? First of all the actual mathematics behind the story are bogus. To anyone minimally cultured or with some interest in science will squirm in agony at such numeric gibberish; the sheer ignorance of whoever was responsible for the script is worrying. Am I to understand that nowadays American independent cinema is trying to sell its products to the same audience that has been bashed into dumbness and allergy to culture by Bruce Willis and his cronies? Instead of consulting with mathematicians, the people responsible to the film seem to have decided that "they won't notice, so what's the difference". But that is not the only problem with Pi. There is this annoying overacting that makes the film border on a parody of itself. "It is death" [referring to the number pi], cries the professor, with such exaggerated gestures and emphasis, that one can't help laughing at the whole ridiculous situation. And then there is all the psychosis and drug-addiction of the main character, which simply doesn't fit in with anything the film seems to be about, and gets on one's nerves. Finally there is the repetitiveness of the whole film. I think a well done trailer of the film would contain everything the long version does. But the best solution would be to edit it and delete the soundtrack, which would leave a short silent film that would resemble and be close to the level of Buñuel's masterpiece Un Chien Andalou.

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36 out of 67 people found the following review useful:

Mindless pap under the guise of intellectual indie.

Author: James Rushbrooke from United Kingdom
28 January 2005

Last night I was subjected to Pi, and subjected is definitely the right word. I have never been a big fan of the more indie/artsy film, and this film was in serious danger of disappearing up the director's own bottom, it was self-adulation to the point of obscurity and a complete waste of my time.

Man seeks a golden 216 digit number that holds the key to existence, it sounds like it had the potential to be quite interesting....maaaaaaan, how wrong could I have been? From the moment this film began it was confusing, the wobbly camera work was annoying, the music and sound effects grated on my nerves. There may have been a plot but it was hidden very well under a lot of obscure badly edited, badly acted scenes I believe that actors and directors should continually push back the boundaries of what constitutes art but someone has to moderate these lunatics, Pi it seems slipped through the net. This sort of film appeals to the Pseudo-Intellectual who sits spell bound and declares to have had some Damastine revelation about the world or their life as a result of seeing this work of 'absolute genius.' They are, of course, lying....there is nothing clever about this film, there is nothing redeeming about it in any way at all. The $60,000 would have been better spent hiring a few helicopters and flying the cast and crew into a mountain at 80mph.

If you want a clever, evocative and original film with a slightly off-mainstream appeal then try 'Memento', a highly under rated work with clever twists turns and plot. If you want to don your Pseudo-Intellectual glasses and be baffled for two hours by mindless pap expunged from the head of a talentless writer then this might just be the film for you.

I gave this film 1/10 and I feel quite strongly that I was being far too generous.

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57 out of 109 people found the following review useful:

Artsy-fartsy garbage at its worst

Author: CigarsAndPars from Toronto
27 February 1999

I can't believe how badly people can be suckered with pseudo-scientific buzzwords and the fake grandiose look into the human mind. Everything in this movie is fake. It may look deep art if you know nothing about about mathematics or science in general. However, this is pure trash, masquerading as 'high art'. I kept rolling my eyes throughout this movie, which makes Armageddon look like a scientific paper. It completely lost credibility in the first 15 minutes, then went downhill. Yeah, one could say, but this is not about science. Well, it uses science to prove that the idiotic idea of numbers-god-madness thing is a possibility. What an awful, appalling, manipulative piece-of-youknowwhat! Here is the recipe for movies like this:

1. Take a premise which 99% of the people won't understand 2. Add a cup of religious fear and/or belief 3. Add a cup of medical condition (mental, if possible) 4. Mix them all together until you get an unrecognizable mess which looks and smells like youknowwhat. 5. Bake it a little (but leave it half-baked). 6. Serve it black and white, grainy so that it looks exotic. Some people will eat it up thinking that it is a rare gourmet treat. It will give them an opportunity to show everyone that they are special, so they will rave about it. (Most will hate it but will join the praising, just to not look 'the stupid, who didn't get it'.) 7. Cash in the awards. (Warning: It's a gamble. You may get a bad rap - see Doom Generation).

There are a few movies I hate with a passion. This one tops them all. Too bad I cannot give a negative number in the IMDb voting. Although I haven't seen it, I can tell you that I'd rather watch "Manos, the Hands of Fate" ten times instead of "Pi" once, even though the former got a 2.1 average from over 1,000 people.

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

It's not so black and white.

Author: Logos_Removed ( from Internet
22 December 2002

This intriguing film reminded me of David Lynch's Eraserhead somewhat. The soundscape of the movie was very industrial in places and the metaphorical imagery used was reminiscent of the early Lynch film. Unlike Eraserhead however this effort has "student film-maker" written all over it, which is not to detract from the entertainment value of the movie.

The movie's protagonist thinks mathematics can provide the answers to the big questions, but finds out the painful way that it cannot. This is all illustrated quite appropriately within a hallucinatory milieu. Unfortunately is it all a bit too obvious unlike David Lynch who can have machinations within machinations to the point of indecipherability. That criticism aside, the lighting, sound effects and photography were all interesting and combined to provide a claustrophobic feeling and a sense of unrelenting futility.

To sum the piece struck me as the early work of a director who is on the up and up. I am looking forward to seeing some more of his work in the future. I enjoyed this movie despite its flaws and give it a 6/10 score.

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Mathematics + Religion x 3.14 = Avant-Garde Classic.

Author: Donald J. Lamb from Philadelphia, PA
22 June 1999

Pi is one insane film. I thought college algebra was tough and thank God there are crazy mathematical wizards like Max (Sean Gullette) to take care of digits and theorems that mean nothing to the common man. This is not really the point of Pi, an artistic masterwork made on a $60,000 budget, meant to put the viewer through a paranoid nightmare.

I was reminded of films made in the same vein like Welles' THE TRIAL, or Soderbergh's KAFKA, both black and white films with a frenetic pace and distorted narrative. Pi is hypnotic filmmaking not meant for all tastes (by any means) and it is a wonder how writer-director Darren Aronofsky got any kind of financial backing. His relatives probably did not see the picture until it was in the can or they may have pulled out. This is not a knock. I found the film to be a true work of genius in an avant-garde manner, something you don't see much in American cinema these days.

Here is a film that exists entirely within the main character's state of mind. He is a math freak whose passion, or should I say obsession, is killing him literally. To top it off, some sinister people from a religious cult want some answers through numbers and some Wall Street people are out for blood and money. Forget plot, forget character, forget narrative. This film is a nightmare in structure and appearance. I would not have been surprised to find the action took place in some netherworld.

Why see Pi? I guess the same reason we had to learn some of this mathematical crap in high school. There are no redeeming qualities or any revelations made. Just some grainy, often stunning black and white images and situations that knocks the wind out of you. If you see it, don't look to deep for any religious or scientific symbolism, at least on first viewing. Pi will absorb you whether you hate it or not. This is a very ambitious outing from first-time filmmakers Aronofsky and Gullette and I give them much credit for creating a work of art I've never seen the likes of before.


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6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Highly introverted mathematician goes bonkers searching for patterns.

Author: anonymous from Cambridge, MA
29 August 1998

Mathematics has come of age. There is now a bad mathematics movie to take it 's place among all the bad science movies. I was unable to suspend my disbelief so that I could sit back and enjoy the movie. I was put off by the silly mathematics, the cheesy props, (Max's "computer" is a collection of 1970s era ICs placed randomly in a 19" relay rack), the total lack of production values, ("Pi" makes the majority of this year's independent productions look like "Titanic"), and the silly plot.

Ostensibly this is a movie about obsession. The protagonist is seeking to find a pattern in the digits of pi which will explain the secrets of the universe. This search has already caused his mentor to have a stroke because he was getting close to the answer and Max is departing farther and farther from the real world. Max's computer is able to predict stock market prices. He is pursued by a collection of bad guys including a brokerage house, and a group of Hasidic Jews who think the messianic age will begin when they pronounce the 216 letter, true name of God. Come on! Before this guy does another movie about oncoming insanity, he should sit through Roman Polanski's "Repulsion" at least three times in a row.

Max's growing insanity is shown by increasingly bad camera angles as the film progresses. The lighting throughout looks as if it was done by Jim Varney playing Earnest. The print that I saw looked as if someone had generated it in their home darkroom. There is no excuse for this lack of technique. Spike Lee, Wayne Wang, and Hal Hartley have shown that you can make a first film for peanuts and it can still look good.

My advice is to go see something else.

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7 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Oh My Gosh this movie is BORING

Author: tony-clifton from Edmonton, Canada
20 June 2003

This is the first film in my history that I rented and have stopped watching, in fact I stopped watching after only 20 minutes. This film plays like a documentary and for crying out loud, a documentary about Mathematics is NOT interesting! And I studied Engineering Math!

A film ought to be at least one of several things, it should either be entertaining or of a documentary about a topic of interest. For me this film was neither. And I found the over-exposed B&W cinematography to be very unwatchable to boot.

Bleh - a terrible film!

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12 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

It starts off as painful and ends up as torture both for the protagonist and for the viewer.

Author: Miles Blount (
29 August 1999

Certainly one of the worst movies I have ever seen, probably the worst. There was no part of this movie worth seeing. Try as I may I could find no hook that would pull me into this film. Big money for hard work almost got me, but the guy is so lunatic that who wants to go there.

The movie should have been called Pain. It starts off as painful and ends up as torture both for the protagonist and for the viewer.

I cannot remember being more disappointed in the gap between reviewers raves and my actual experience.

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