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Scott Ventura >> Movie Commentary >> December 2000 >> Pi


Movie Commentary by Scott Ventura


Scott's Rating:
2 / 5
Times Seen:
Viewing Date:
December 2000
IMDB Name:
Pi (1998)
Darren Aronofsky
MPAA Rating:
R for language and some disturbing images.


There are those unfortunate times when I watch a movie and see why people get excited about it without getting excited about it myself. It's as though there's only one ingredient missing in the recipe, but it's the important one. No matter what I might say that sounds like a recommendation, know that I didn't really enjoy Pi, but not for reasons that I can explain even to my own satisfaction.

Pi centers on a quest for knowledge of theoretically earth- shattering significance. Everybody wants to understand the patterns in the universe, but for different reasons. Pi's main character is single-mindedly focused on hunting for the reason behind the movements in the stock market, but not for financial gains. What happens when you find it? This is fairly original as premises go, and Pi has far nobler aspirations than many a movie. I'm floored by the devastatingly effective use of the available resources to make the movie never feel like a self-consciously low-budget production. The cast, especially Sean Gullette, does a great job with the lines given them, but I wish that the dialogue had been refined a bit more to complete the picture.

Pi's crew behind the camera is very impressive. Matthew Libatique's cinematography provides a rich palette of textures where interesting combinations of light convey as much information as the actor's face. Oren Sarch's editing provides crucial pacing to keep the audience on edge. Despite the frequency of the cuts in some sequences, the effect is never exaggerated past what the story needs. Clint Mansell's score is a model of how to create tension. Kudos also to the sound department, who crafted a sonic landscape that imparts the headaches of the protagonist on the audience.

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Copyright 2000 by Scott Ventura. All rights reserved.