|A mathematician discovers a new relationship between chaos theory and
the number Pi which makes him a target of a dangerous religious sect
and a greedy investor. The references to mathematics and its power
in this film are interesting, but the moral seems to be: it is better
to get a lobotomy than to be a mathematician.
When this low budget film earned awards and blockbuster status, Variety ran an article with the headline "π=$1,000,000"!
"For a while in the 1990's the world record for calculating digits
of pi was held by the Chudnovsky brothers, David and Gregory, using a computer they
designed and built themselves from mail-order parts in their New York apartment. The
brothers and their wacky machine were featured in an entertaining article published in New
Yorker magazine. Along with contemporary attempts to explain financial markets in terms of
fractals and chaos, one suspects that this may be the inspiration for this movie.
Mathematician Max Cohen has (guess what) built a huge ramshackle computer in his apartment
to help him work on the digits of pi, and discovers that it can predict the stock market.
Surprisingly, this makes him neither rich nor happy. Completely over the top, but delivered
with a certain stylish intensity."
"Amazing editing and excellent movie. Should be viewed more as someone's nightmare than an actual reality. Reminiscent of the movie `Kafka'."
"This film is possibly less about mathamatics than it is about a man desperately trying to explain to himself how the world works using the only language he truly understands; the language of mathamatics. This dead ended pursuit for patterns in chaotic systems drives our tragic-hero closer and closer to the brink of madness. Max cohen's desperate struggle is contrasted nicely with the relaxation and appreciation of the arts found by Sol, an older mathamatician who when searching for patterns in pi came close to the same discovery which Max makes when looking for patterns in the stock market. Sol holds the belief that no human being can physically sort through all of that chaos to find the pattern and blames his studies for his stroke. The fact that Sol dies when he resumes his studies and finds a solution is mirrored by the fact that once Max makes his discovery he feels that he has to lobotomise himself to end the suffering.
rating 3.14 (sorry that was an obvious joke, i would actually rate this film as a 4.6/5) "
"I do not fully understand the film as such; I mean, it is not just a guy with a computer trying to figure out a number, and some nasty people chasing him. This is a film about life. I have noticed many things through the film which I don't understand, (such as the flies. It comes back again and again, but why?) but I have to say that it is brilliant. Gullette is brilliant, the filming is brilliant, it is a brilliant film.
And it's about Maths! It focuses on a 216-digit number, Max is obsessed about numbers, there is no escaping the fact that Mathematics is central to this film. It is hugely imaginative, and as soon as I find out what the many metaphors mean, I will be hapy, for I will understand it. But until then, I just like it because it is a dark dark film, and seems so accurate about everything. It just seems so precise."
John C. Konrath|
Generally, I was disappiointed by this film. While I enjoyed the mathematics and some of the characters I found the film painful to watch. Furthermore, I believe this film was heavily influence by Robert Littell's novel "The Visiting Professor" which tells a similar tale in a far more interesting manner.
Moody and fascinatingly strange. A nightmare world.
This is probably my favorite movie of all time. I own three copies of the DVD and first saw it when it was out in VHS. Then I also owned a couple of copies. I just wanted to have an extra in good condition, so I could watch it when I reached my 80th birthday ! Just the other day I bought a copy just because it was available on Amazon for 47 cents ! Just couldn't pass it up. The black and white "reversal" film (normally used to make slides) gives it a stark contrasty quality which is very artistic. The plot is excellent and Max (the main character) is played perfectly by Sean Gullette. It's got math and the stock market and Hassidic Kabbalists. In all, one Big Adventure. A true action (of the mind) film.