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Reviews & Ratings for
Pi More at IMDbPro »

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5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

What a waste. One of the worst films I've ever seen.

Author: john in missouri from United States
23 June 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I was absolutely astonished to discover that others had rated this movie a 7.5. I found it to be one of the worst, most boring films I've ever watched - and I've seen a lot. I was expecting an average rating of around 3.

I suppose it's because it's different. Well, it's certainly that. But not every film that's made in black in white, has disturbing images, and goes through demented sequences that make no freaking sense is "brilliant" - although a lot of people obviously disagree with me.

Maybe my first clue should've been the opening credits, which rolled a sequence supposedly of the number pi. As someone well acquainted with mathematics, the very first thing I noticed was that the number they put on the screen was an accurate representation out to the first 8 digits. After that it was just a stream of completely random numbers.

"Well," I said to myself, "They had to know very, very few people would ever notice." Still, it was a bit irritating. It can't be that hard to come up with a few more than 8 digits of the value of pi, especially when you're spending the money to make an entire movie.

Sadly, things only went downhill from there.

And incidentally, the movie turned out not to have not ANYTHING to do with pi at all! As near as I can tell, the pi bits were only thrown in for their marketing value. The story is all to do with some other number.

The best thing that "Pi" has going for it (really, the ONLY thing) is the music. The rest is just black-and-white-filmed ravings, repetitive shots of the main character shaking and downing pills, repetitive script (how many times do we get told the same thing in the exact same words?), repetitive freak-out episodes, and long shots of nothing in particular. Blurry scenery.

The movie was so **** boring that after watching it for as long as I could possibly stand (the first hour), hoping, hoping, HOPING that it would get better, I finally started skipping ahead, pausing for the parts that looked like they might actually contain some content. There were relatively few of these.

As far as I can recall, this is the only movie I've ever seen that at 84 minutes was WAY too long. It just seemed like the **** thing would never end.

Perfect example of movie hell: Nothing ever happens, and the movie has no ending. Instead it just goes on forever.

If you enjoy being beaten for hours on end with decaying sturgeons, or if you think a bogus-science movie filmed in blurry black and white in which the main character is demented must AUTOMATICALLY be cool, then there's a chance you might like this movie. Otherwise, I'd go for something with more entertainment value.

Like SuperBabies: Baby Geniuses 2...

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5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

If you're an MTV airhead, stay away.

Author: fedor8 from Serbia
11 February 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This fascinating low-budget movie is about - well - the meaning of life in a sense. The main character, Max, is a semi-mad loner, a mathematic genius whose life's obsession is to sort out the chaos that is the universe in a coherent mathematical, that is to say, numerical - to him understandable - fashion. He doesn't have sex and he doesn't socialize; in fact, any contact with humans other than the old man - mentor? - is merely a waste of time and a triviality he would very well gladly do without entirely. The friendly chatter which his attractive Indian neighbour tries to repeatedly initiate falls on deaf ears. The little Asian girl that tests his computing skills he only affably tolerates possibly because she talks numbers with him and not so much because she is an innocent child.

The first thing he informs us is that he's had headaches ever since regaining his sight after having briefly lost it at the age of six when he starred directly at the sun in spite of being warned not to by his mother. It is to be assumed that from that point onwards his mind, his life, was focused on only one thing: to figure it all out. He later adds that he recalls as he starred at the sun that he saw a pattern or something, that what he saw made sense in a way and that he wanted to understand it better - whatever "it" was. The headaches are to be interpreted as the result of his (growing) frustration in failing to get to "the answer" i.e. the number or pattern. His obsession and the resulting thousands of hours of work and energy that he has invested in exploring the world of numbers - particularly as they relate to the "pi" value and spirals - has turned him into a mental mess. He consumes huge amounts of medication to fight the migraine, the shakes and God knows what else. His single-mindedness and rigid focus on finding the truth of all truths is increasingly bringing him to the very verge of total insanity.

His dogmatic refusal to accept the world as a place of chaos which neither he nor anyone else can fully or even partially control lead him to the idea that there is an inherent order in the universe and that it - like absolutely everything else - is based on clean and understandable numerical laws and principles. It isn't a coincidence that it was a look at the Sun that triggered this in him; the Sun is round after all, the symbol of life (on Earth, at least) and the "pi" value - which is something mathematicians have been working on for centuries - is related to the computation of a circle. He refuses to accept the existence of a world in which there is no order - however blurry and elusive that order may be. He believes that he will get to that number - which he finds out consists of a sequence of 216 numbers - best by analyzing the world stock markets, and later even the numerical significance of texts in the Torah. And as he gets closer to the truth/the number/the pattern i.e. to giving order a name, or a numerical value to the (non)chaos, ironically his own life gets increasingly chaotic: he suffers illusions, the old man gets a stroke, the fanatical Jewish organization is after him, the stock-broker firm is after him, the attacks get worse, etc. In the subway-station hallucination he sees a brain and he instinctively wants to poke it with a pen; this is perhaps subject to free interpretation, but I believe that this is his sub-conscious wish to lobotomize himself, i.e. free himself from the miserable, manic, and uncomfortable existence which has been torturing his mind (and body) for so long. There is an implied, certain amount of self-hate in him; he hates the (dominant) part of him which seeks this number. His old friend, it seems, knows more about Max's quest than he'd admit, because he was there once, too. He warns Max about continuing his search; he tells him that it's both futile and leads to self-destruction. But self-destruction or at least the sort-of lobotomical self-destruction is perhaps what Max wants. He seeks the answer so that he can finally rest.

The old man eventually (apparently) finds the (series of) number(s) and dies(?) from a second stroke. Max takes the paper with the figures and goes completely mad. In one of the final scenes he undergoes an almost religious experience in which he, well, sees the light - literally. This is entirely free for interpretation. A religious person will say that he has seen God, whereas an atheist like myself will say that he underwent something remotely comparable to what Dave undergoes in the last half-hour of "2001"; i.e. that he has gotten insight into the secret(s) of the universe, that he has finally learned how the chaos is controlled - or not controlled as may be the case. In the end, he performs a quasi lobotomy on himself, rather unsubtly with a drill. Again, why he does this may or may not be obvious. I believe that he found the truth and that it was so overwhelming - in a positive or negative way (or maybe even both) - that he, as a mere human, couldn't handle it. So he took his genius, and perhaps this knowledge away from him with the drill. The last scene in the park shows the Asian girl asking him her usual mathematical questions. Max says he doesn't know the answer to the first one. The second is to divide 748 by 238. He doesn't say anything, but merely looks up at the sky (or Sun). Of course, the answer to this is 3.14...

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5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:


Author: Jessica Carvalho from Brazil
7 October 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

'Pi'is a very different movie from the ordinary ones. Filmed on black-and-white(some people say that it was only to be cool,others because black-and-white movies has a low budget,but whatever) this low budget movie was a financial success and is very well known by people who likes ''cult'' movies.

The only thing I didn't get very well was the ending, which Max puts a drill to his head, and later he doesn't know how to make the big counts he was used to. There are many interpretations to that, such as, was he dead and that was his idea of heaven? Does he did a lobotomy in himself to rid himself of the stress of his math obsession? Independent of that, I agree with the guy who told that the ending of this movie fits the sentence ''ignorance is a bliss''.

Maximillian Cohen is a mathematical prodigy who is utilizing the stock market as his data set, trying to uncover patterns with the assistance of his homemade supercomputer. He has headaches since he is 6 years old, when he stared into the sun at such length, that the doctors didn't if he would see again. But his headaches are a big problem to his health, since they let him debilitated, and he is more and more addicted to drugs then ever. He also suffers from paranoia and social anxiety disorder.(Very nerd, isn't he?) While trying to found a pattern of the stock market,he begins to believe that he has found the key to understanding the universe, but as he closes in on the answer,he begins to stay more and more sick and full of hallucinations. A number of mysterious people become interested in his research, including a woman from a Wall Street firm and a group of kabbalistic Jews who believe that the Torah, when represented as numbers instead of letters, contains the true name of God, an example of a Bible code.

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5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Absolutely awful

Author: George Goldberg from Tucson, Arizona
27 January 2002

The camerawork is abominable, the acting is terrible, the story is vile - math genius is, naturally, nuts - the characters are anti-Semitic stereotypes (the paranoid genius slob, the older failure with a central European accent, the super-aggressive Hasid). I cannot say whether the movie improves after the first half hour or so, as I turned it off in utter disgust, but given what I saw I cannot believe that anyone involved in this trash would be able to put together a coherent scene. I've rated it a 1, but that isn't close to how bad it is.

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5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

You Can Tell This Guy Went to Film School

Author: mdogroup from Massachusetts
7 January 2001

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This would have made a fairly interesting 45 min school film, but the problem is that while Aronofsky (sp?) has a great premise, he has no idea how to follow up on it. Far too much time is spent wowing the audience with "that great shot" - which any film school professor will tell you is an obstructive sin - and vapid, rollercoaster editing. And the ending, were Max gives himself a lobotomy, is such a copout and an obvious slip, revealing to everyone that he has no idea how to end this movie. Not awful, but certainly needlessly pretentious.

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5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Pretentious film school garbage.

Author: Jasen from Kalamazoo, MI
22 September 2000

I've seen dreadful student films before, but at least they didn't go on for 85 minutes. If you enjoy smug direction and self-indulgent nonsense than this is the film for you! A non-existent story, amateur acting, and a self-indulgent DP that had the DT shakes does not a good film make. My advice: avoid this film and ignore the over-praised reviews that this mess received.

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5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

This movie really sucks bigtime

Author: anonymous from Norway
12 February 1999

This movie is just for people who are really sick in their head. First of all, it's in Black & White. Second the sound is really annoying and terrible. It's not about math at all. Thank god for Fast Forwarding on the remote. Probably one of the worst movies made in the last 20 years. If you don't believe me, just rent it and see for yourself.

Then you can decide.....

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7 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

I've discovered another magic number.

Author: Adrian Cribb from London, England
30 April 2002

While watching this film I discovered a magic number with very great significance. It is 89. Take the duration of a film in minutes. The closer the film runs to this magic number, 89 mins, the less entertaining it is. Saturn 3 and The Avengers are just 2 examples that spring to mind. They're under an hour and a half so the poor viewer continues to watch knowing that even if it doesn't get any better it least it'll end soon.

Pi runs for 84 minutes.

Hey, I've just discovered another one. 7.5! The closer a film gets to an IMDB user rating of 7.5 the more boring it is. Perhaps there is something in this numbers business after all.

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8 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Arrogant and tedious

Author: jax713 from United States - Pacific time zone
21 January 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Pi is a perfect example of the hubris of youth and the embodiment of the young film maker who fancies himself an *artiste* but, alas, has nothing to say. Here, the real artistry of the film maker is that he was able to get together some money to shoot the movie and then get it distributed.

The impudence of the movie, just like a pubescent teenager, is that it likes to ask age-old questions for which there are no answers. The arrogance of the film is that the director/writer seems to plainly say to the audience "Look at what important and complex things I think about and, if you like this movie, then you're smart, too." The intellectual topics that begin the story are meant to impress the audience with the notion that the film maker is a deep thinker. But when nothing comes of anything, when dialog is scanty, when lengthy empty scenes prove pointless, what the audience is left with is just deeply harsh cinematography that is brutal on the eyes. But, oh wait, this must be some artistic manifestation of the protagonist's childhood trauma. The very use of a stark but grainy black and white medium adds to the pretense of this project. Here we have a director, completely drunk on his mighty cinematic vision, taking a beautiful spark of an idea and turning it into road kill. I was relieved that scenes of Jackson Pollock-type visuals were not used to depict the protagonist's growing mental anguish, though this may have used up time better than the bugs and brain...but, oh, wait, these were artistic metaphors! In this movie, genius-as-a-tortured-soul comes off as unsympathetic, unlikeable, non-productive, unhygienic, anti-social, and creepy. While, indeed, there may be big brains who are like this, it does not make for an enjoyable movie experience unless it is put into some kind of central plot construct. To have three less than half-baked plots doesn't count.

If you want to see stories built around math theories, I suggest you watch the CBS TV show Numb3rs. Pi may have been a catalyst of some kind for this show, but, believe it or not, TV does it better. Only one star for an original idea for a film that, unfortunately, ended up as pie in the eye.

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8 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

One of the worst movies ever...

Author: Heikki Leskinen ( from Tuusula, Finland
20 January 2004

The first thing I noticed, was that the movie was monochrome. A movie being black and white has never been a reason for me no to watch a movie, so I was thinking, I can deal with that.

The second note I made was that the movie is a bit weird. Suddenly I'm beginning to think I'm watching a David Lynch film. And I don't see that as a good thing.

I've always tried my best to watch every movie from the beginning to the end, but while watching "Pi" I couldn't finish watching it. I don't find interesting to watch a movie without a plot nor any destination. The main character is so hollow, that it's impossible to learn to understand him, not to mention to get attached to him.

I can't see how anyone can find a movie with no plot interesting...

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