Friday, January 21, 2011
You Haven't Seen That Yet??? - Pi
Plot: This jarring black-and-white brain-bender written and directed by Darren Aronofsky (Requiem for a Dream) is a haunting examination of science, mathematics -- and one man's haunting numerical obsession. The story follows emotionally fragile number theorist Max Cohen (Sean Gullette), who's on the trail of a 216-digit number hidden within Pi that could unlock the secrets of the stock market ... and the universe. via.
Nicole's Rating: A-
Why She's Appalled Matt's Never Seen It: Now, I have to admit, it's been a long time since I've seen this one. Years, most likely. And really, that's how I feel about all of the Aronofsky movies I've seen and loved. His films touch so well and delve so deep into a subject that it almost takes too much of you away each and every time you watch it. I only watch Requiem for a Dream, which is probably one of my top five favorite movies of all time, when I'm showing it to someone else for the first time. Aronofsky's films require too much emotional involvment.
Anyway, I thought Pi would be a really great one for Matt to watch - given that we just saw and loved Black Swan and that Pi is Aronofsky's first feature film. It's amazing to see not only just how talented he is, but also how much he's grown as a director over the past decade.
Matt's Rating: C+
Matt's Review: I loved Black Swan and The Wrestler so Nicole suggested that I watch Aronofsky's first film, Pi. Well, I mildly enjoyed it. I think for a first film its fantastic and considering his budget (slightly higher then the budget for my independent feature...hooray shameless plug) it's even more impressive. I always like watching all of a director's movies because it allows me to see how they have grown as a filmmaker/artist. I think it's clear that Aronofsky has come a looong way and he started ahead of the curve. Watching Pi also made it clear that from his beginning, he has been able to make very haunting films regardless of the content matter. He made a math guy seem very very creepy.
One thing I think the filmmakers did a great job of doing is making the audience feel like our protagonist, Max. The way they shot the film was very claustrophobic, chaotic, and creepy. This allows the audience to easily feel and relate to Max. So, from a cinematography and shot choice standpoint I think the film succeeds.
However, the story was interesting but not engaging. I felt as if for the first two acts we were just getting monologue followed by a neat story, followed by monologue, followed by a neat story and so on. My major problem with the film was that I felt that it was very one dimensional. I think there message was clear, sometimes genius can drive a man to his breaking point, especially if he gets massive migraines. However, they just hammered at this point for an hour and a half. I GET IT, HE'S FUCKING NUTS!!!! I think Aronfsky realized this when he was writing it and tried to add some other elements, and this is where the film ultimately fails. The story line with the wall street people and the diabolical Jews was weak to say the least. They started to delve into those subplots towards the end but then abandoned them. These parts of the film just seemed half assed compared to the rest.
There was also just too much random shit. What was the thing on the side of his head? Why was there a flash of him sobbing "no" into a woman's arms at the end? How did he get away from the power hungry and randomly evil Jews? Can you really stick a 12" drill bit into your head and be okay? Now, some of you might be saying "you have to suspend some disbelief Matt" and I did, BUT when you are doing a movie about math and real math theory you cant just have your protagonist give himself a lobotomy with a drill and cover it up with a snow cap. However, maybe he didn't survive the drill sequence and maybe the last scene is him in his own personal heaven. Now, THAT makes it seem interesting.
The two motif's I enjoyed were the ants and the brain. Those were well executed and made sense. The moment when he decides not to kill the ant was a perfect way to display his character arc.
For his first film it's a great place to start but Aronosfky might have been trying just a bit too hard. I would have liked to have seen a little more depth in the subplots and a little more coherence to Max's craziness (if that makes sense). It's a very well crafted film but there are too many major issues to ignore. David Lynch would be proud, but it's just not my cup of tea.