Written and directed by Darren Aronofsky, ‘Pi’ (1990) is a psychological thriller film following the journey of mastermind mathematician, Maximillian Cohen (played by Sean Gullette), whose sole mental stability relies upon calculating an equation of arithmetic patterns, which equal to an infinite sum of Pi. These multiple arithmetic patterns Max happens to be computing are the most historically and scientifically interconnected patterns known to appear throughout the universe.
Aronofsky’s distinctive camera angles, lighting and filming techniques in ‘Pi’ allow the viewers to distinguish the aura of uneasiness in each scene, in both Max’s internal and external world, whether chaotic or euphoric. In addition to shots with his back faced to the camera fully encapsulated within his experimental laboratory, Aronofsky also incorporates unnerving childhood flashbacks with layering cryptic sound effects so the viewers are able to grasp the deep mystery to Max’s true character.
To understand the level of chaos and mental instability within the mind of Maximilian’s character, he narrates his own life by exact time measurements of personal notes, euphoric and observational thoughts. We are wrapped in two entirely different characters from inside Max’s mind to how he outwardly portrays himself to society.