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Chaos Theory Expanded.


FILM: Pi (Released in 1998)

STARRING: Sean Gullette, Mark Margolis, Ben Shenkman


Chaos theory, for those unfamiliar with the term, is based upon the little things that can cause big disruptions in our world. Take the butterfly effect for example; a butterfly flaps its wings somewhere in China and the wind that it stirs up may someday change weather patterns in New York. (Hey, it just might happen!) Time travel is one of the biggest mind bogglers in the our world today. Just going back could change the whole outcome of human history. Yeah, it's a lot to think about, and this film builds upon theories similar to these...more than the rest of the world may want.

Darren Aronofsky is now an instant legend in indie-filmmaking for this film. It is incredibly original, smart, somewhat disturbing, and may stick in your mind like crazy glue. I have never seen a film that has so challenged my perception of reality since David Lynch's Eraserhead. (Viewers have often compared the two films for their similarities in mood and style.) Although, I was kind of thrown off by Eraserhead's metaphores that only Lynch understood, Pi had me gripped until the end.

Pi Cover Gullete plays Max Cohen, a mathematical genius on the brink of a new discovery, and also on the edge of insanity. Everything around us is comprised of patterns, and Max is trying to find one in the largest productions of ordered chaos: the stock market. With the aid of his giant computer system, Euclid, he tries to find a pattern in stocks that are traded every second. After uploading a disk with a Hebrew alphabet, Euclid prints out a two hundred and sixteen digit number that may in fact be the very name of God (According The Torah). Hounded by a stock firm who will do anything to retrieve the code from him and his uncontrolable migraines, Max finds himself in a mess that may or may not end his life.

From moment one, where a tilted angle shows Max waking up with a bloody nose, Aronofsky takes us on a ride with infinate possiblities. His unique style of filmmaking is a real treat for any hardcore indie fan. The dark images of Max's migraine attacks and people that disappear right out of his view really move this one along at a nice pace. Clint Mansell's amazing mixing [and composing] talents could not be any more appropriate. High pitched screechings; fast or slow paced techno tracks--or whatever music is being presented is dead on accurate at creating the desired atmosphere. Gullete is also spectacular in this with his nervous eyes and dull voice that is really quite believable. This film is, however, really confusing the first time around. I suggest watching it twice to catch the full effect. I don't think America will ever see a movie quite like this in a looooong time.

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Analysis of Pi

(Written by Frieder Wallis)