After a car wreck on the winding Mulholland Drive renders a woman amnesiac, she and a perky Hollywood-hopeful search for clues and answers across Los Angeles in a twisting venture beyond dreams and reality.
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 »
Max suggests that the Kabbalists have already tried all possible 216-digit numbers. That is 10 to the power of 215 multiplied by 9 [9x(10^215)] - if they had been doing a quadrillion a day since the destruction of the Temple, they would barely have begun. 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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End credits shown over bugs crawling on Max's papers. 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;
Low key thriller that is interesting rather than intense or gripping
Max Cohen is a mathematical and computer genius who seeks mathematical patterns in everything. However he also suffers from intense headaches, dellusions and some paranoia. He looks into patterns in the stock market only to find his ability sought by both a Wall Street trader, Marcy Dawson, and a Hasidic, Lenny Meyer, who both want the code for different reasons.
Before I saw this I must admit I heard a lot of hype but no actual details so I was half-expecting an intense `Usual Suspects' thriller mixed with maths. So I was a little disappointed at first. However once over my preconceptions I was able to settle into this. That is, if you can `settle into' something like this. The story is clever it plays on paranoia and delusion in fact it may or may not happen. Even at the end of the film I was left wondering if Max was a genius or if he was a nutter and all this was in his mind. The film uses this paranoia to create some good scenes and the thumping base music ups the ante a bit.
It's not an easy film to enjoy in the traditional sense, but it is an experience. The subject matter is different enough to be interesting and the telling is clever I for one can't wait to see what the director does with Batman: year one, it certainly won't be a camp Joel Schumacher film anyway!
Gullette (who also co-wrote) is good in the lead and is totally convincing. Mark Margolis is also good and it's good to see him in different roles, I know him from his strong role in Oz although he's not as good here. The rest of the cast are good but really the star here is the director as he manages to put us in Max's mind and involve us in the paranoia so thoroughly that we're not sure what is real and what isn't.
Overall this isn't as masterly as the hype suggests but it's different enough and compelling enough to be more than gripping for 90 minutes.
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