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Pi (1998)



Average Rating: 7.3/10
Reviews Counted: 54
Fresh: 47 | Rotten: 7

Dramatically gripping and frighteningly smart, this Lynchian thriller does wonders with its unlikely subject and shoestring budget.


Average Rating: 6.8/10
Critic Reviews: 13
Fresh: 10 | Rotten: 3

Dramatically gripping and frighteningly smart, this Lynchian thriller does wonders with its unlikely subject and shoestring budget.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.8/5
User Ratings: 106,162

My Rating

Movie Info

Darren Aronofsky scripted and made his directorial debut with this experimental feature with mathematical plot threads hinting at science-fictional elements. 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

Jan 12, 1999


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All Critics (57) | Top Critics (14) | Fresh (47) | Rotten (7) | DVD (18)

Aronofsky, who has parlayed this movie's Sundance success into two Hollywood deals, is that rare indie filmmaker who doesn't want to make hip romantic sitcoms. He's a genuine experimenter with a spooky visual style.

March 29, 2009 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

We share Max's feelings of imminent psychological disintegration as the film probes our own insecurity in the face of the eternal. Maths meets millennial doom in one of the decade's true originals.

February 29, 2008 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's remarkable to what extent Aronofsky has rendered the cerebral kinetically intense. The film's imaginative, diverse images create a mind's-eye urban claustrophobia.

June 6, 2007 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Audacious and bursting with ideas.

July 12, 2002 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The movie's low-budget look neatly matches the claustrophobia of Max's life, but the filmmakers have also devised some special shooting methods for certain scenes. These sequences -- breathless and jangly chases, for the most part -- look terrific.

December 19, 2001 Full Review Source:
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The seductive thing about Aronofsky's film is that it is halfway plausible in terms of modern physics and math.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Pi accomplishes so much more with...its micro-budget than a Hollywood production could.

February 20, 2014 Full Review Source: Movie Mezzanine
Movie Mezzanine

a real treat

January 30, 2013 Full Review Source: Old School Reviews

Both story and style reveal the calculations of an artist so desperate to get noticed that he forgot to cover his id.

August 21, 2009 Full Review Source: City Pages, Minneapolis/St. Paul | Comment (1)

Pi is certainly about the burden of genius, but it very well may also be about mythical powers and faulty dogma in Judaism.

July 9, 2009 Full Review Source:

When the Torah is explained in mathematical terms, it's enough to make you want to take up second year trig - like the movie, a deeply flawed idea.

May 18, 2009 Full Review Source: | Comment (1)

Disturbing, exhilarating, and sure to send anyone of conservative temperament scuttling from the room.

March 29, 2009 Full Review Source: Film4

Clever and creepy as hell.

June 6, 2007 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

...a frustrating and maddeningly confounding piece of work...

November 23, 2006 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews | Comments (9)
Reel Film Reviews

Director Darren Aronofsky creates an eerie Eraserhead-like world that keeps the film compelling.

December 6, 2005 Full Review Source: Film Threat | Comment (1)
Film Threat

An ambitious, stylish and intriguing first effort by Aronofsky and director of photography Matthew Libatique. If you're of a mind for an offbeat but fascinating film, give it a shot.

April 9, 2005 Full Review Source: Reeling Reviews
Reeling Reviews

Pi is an interesting film. Not a particularly good one, but interesting nonetheless.

Apollo Guide

Embora Aronofsky cometa excessos visuais em alguns momentos (tendência comprovada em seu trabalho seguinte, Réquiem para um Sonho), sua eficiente direção, a ótima edição e o inteligente roteiro transformam Pi em um filme singular.

August 7, 2003
Cinema em Cena

Shot in blotchy, grimy black-and-white and edited in a style almost reminiscent of the French New Wave, 'Pi' is as jarring to the eye as it is enticing to the mind.

July 31, 2003 Full Review Source: Kalamazoo Gazette
Kalamazoo Gazette

Destined to pick up a cult following.

January 17, 2003 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

Pi is like a Cronenberg film of the mind, where the unsettling images and lusts are driven by a desire for knowledge, not flesh.

November 7, 2002 Full Review Source: Netflix

Film fans who long for intellectual muscle have reason to hail Mr. Aronofsky for plunging into the mysteries of knowledge, power and the nature of God.

October 15, 2002 Full Review Source: Cincinnati Enquirer | Comment (1)
Cincinnati Enquirer

Audience Reviews for Pi

This cautionary parable brings up the age-old question of whether our drive for power through deeper knowledge of the natural world will also carry us to our personal or possibly collective annihilation. It reminds me of the revelation that it's not our fear of failure that prevents us from trying something, but rather our fear of success. What happens when our capabilities accelerate faster than we can understand them? We find out one possibility as we follow a man haunted with an obsession to discover the core numerical pattern behind all things and behaviors in the universe.
March 29, 2014
Matthew Slaven

Super Reviewer

Like the value, it isn't rational and it doesn't [seem to] end.

Full review coming to on August 18, 2013.
July 28, 2013

Super Reviewer

It is a highly disturbing and bizarre film, yet despite its dizzying--and somewhat unnerving, off-putting tone--it is brilliantly and artistically constructed. Darren Aronofsky is able to bring to life a unique, engaging story while using elements of legendary filmmaker Roman Polanski's best films. Pi is able to achieve what many other so-called "psychological thrillers" are not capable of due to its fantastic cinematography--which creates an appropriately suffocating environment--and its ingenious film editing.
July 5, 2013
Matthew Samuel Mirliani

Super Reviewer

This gritty, low budget, black and white indie thriller is the debut of the maverick auteur Darren Aronofsky.

Set in New York's Chinatown, the film follows a reclusive mathematician who, for the past ten years, has been working on cracking the code behind the numerical pattern of the stock market. The closer he gets to the solution, the more chaotic the world becomes around him. Dogged by both a ruthless Wall Street firm and some shady Kaballah sect intent on using him to decode the Torah, Max becomes increasingly detached from reality and sanity.

This is a really stunning picture. I give it major props for having a unique vision, killer art direction and set design, and being done independently on the cheap. The math angle is a little out there, but not so obscure that it is impossible for a lay person to follow. Even then, this isn't a film for everyone, but if you like mind benders, borderline sci-fi thrillers, and enjoy seeing films about people who go nuts, then this is a film for you.
November 12, 2012
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

    1. Max Cohen: When I was a little kid, my mother told me not to stare into the sun. So once when I was six, I did.
    – Submitted by Jacob M (14 months ago)
    1. Max Cohen: It's fair to say that I'm stepping out on a limb, but I am on the edge and that's where it happens.
    – Submitted by Frances H (15 months ago)
    1. Sol Robeson: Have you met Archimedes? The one with the black spots, you see? You remember Archimedes of Syracuse, eh? The king asks Archimedes to determine if a present he's received is actually solid gold. Unsolved problem at the time. It tortures the great Greek mathematician for weeks - insomnia haunts him and he twists and turns in his bed for nights on end. Finally, his equally exhausted wife - she's forced to share a bed with this genius - convinces him to take a bath to relax. While he's entering the tub, Archimedes notices the bath water rise. Displacement, a way to determine volume, and that's a way to determine density - weight over volume. And thus, Archimedes solves the problem. He screams "Eureka" and he is so overwhelmed he runs dripping naked through the streets to the king's palace to report his discovery.
    – Submitted by Steven F (22 months ago)
    1. Marcy Dawson: It's survival of the fittest, Max, and we've got the fucking gun.
    – Submitted by Steven F (22 months ago)
    1. Max Cohen: One: Mathematics is the language of nature. Two: Everything around us can be represented and understood through numbers. Three: If you graph the numbers of any system, patterns emerge. Therefore, there are patterns everywhere in nature.
    – Submitted by Andreea T (3 years ago)
    1. Max Cohen: 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 me.
    – Submitted by Andreea T (3 years ago)
View all quotes (6)

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Happy Pi Day! To help you celebrate, here's a list of movies that embrace math.
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