In NYC's Chinatown, recluse math genius Max (Sean Gullette) believes "everything can be understood in terms of numbers," and he looks for a pattern in the system as he suffers headaches, plays Go with former teacher Sol Robeson (Mark Margolis), and fools around with an advanced computer system he's built in his apartment. Both a Wall Street company and a Hasidic sect take an interest in his work, but he's distracted by blackout attacks, hallucinations, and paranoid delusions..
Backstories for the characters Max and Sol were conceived by Sean Gullette and Darren Aronofsky, but they were never written for the film. They would have been about Max proving to be a math prodigy at very young age and soon attending Columbia University, where he met Sol, a Russian expatriate, who was captured by American Forces and was given the chance to assist in the building of nuclear weapons because of his great math prowess. He refused and was relocated to Siberia, where he was soon let out and acquired a job teaching math at Columbia University. If given a closer look at Sol's wrists, prison tattoos can be seen. See more »
Shadow of camera operator visible looming over Max as he thrashes on the floor of his bathroom. See more »
9:13, Personal note: When I was a little kid my mother told me not to stare into the sun. So once when I was six I did. The doctors didn't know if my eyes would ever heal. I was terrified, alone in that darkness. Slowly, daylight crept in through the bandages, and I could see. But something else had changed inside of me. That day I had my first headache.
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In the original script, the man seen singing on the subway was referred to as the "Moustache Man". But since the part went to the clean-shaven Stanley B. Herman, the final movie credits list him as "Moustacheless Man". See more »
DVD version includes deleted scenes:
Max being threatened by Farrouhk, Devi's jealous boyfriend;
Max climbing up a pile of discarded computer parts and monitors;
I am generally wary of movie portrayals of scientists and people who are supposedly scientific geniuses. It seems that most movie-makers are not scientifically inclined and never manage to do a convincing job. Pi, however, is a very interesting movie and Sean Gullette does a reaonably good job of portraying a genius on the edge of insanity. My fears that this would be another typical bad science movie were quelled very quickly, never to return again. Of course, they didn't get all the details down pat, but most of it was believable (or close) and some of it was correct. Comments on science aside though, I think this was one of the more interesting, and certainly one of the most original, movies I have seen this year.There are provocative metaphors hidden (well, not very deeply) throughout the movie (esp. the bugs), and the subject is so completely novel that it is really worth seeing. In conclusion I would say that if you think a movie about number theory would be boring, in regard to this movie you would be wrong. If, like me, you think a movie about number theory would be exciting but probably done badly, then you will have to accept that this movie is not really about number theory, but about a number theorist. As far as the execution goes though, you needn't worry about it, it is a pleasant relief from the usual.
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