Darren Aronofsky’s First Movie Is Also His Best Crazy Movie

Darren Aronofsky There may be his favorite themes—obsession, protagonists falling apart, endings fading—but it’s hard to accuse him of playing it safe.His income is $300 million Black Swan, a not-so-commercialized psycho-physical horror film about a ballerina.he led a career renaissance Mickey Rourke and Brendan Fraser. He made a biblical epic in 2014, a genre considered over 50 years old. noah It somehow became his highest-grossing work.Then he followed That and Mother!An arty horror film that seems designed to annoy anyone who comes to see it jennifer lawrence. It’s hard not to respect such a career path, even if everything doesn’t go well. (sorry, whale.)

However, whatever else Aronofsky has done, it’s hard to match PI. (Boom! Math jokes!) In a movie full of numbers, perhaps the most impressive is $134,815: PItotal budget of aronofsky and producers Eric Watson Raise money by asking everyone they know for $100 each.Even in the midst of the indie boom of the 90s, that wasn’t a lot of money; giving you an idea of ​​how tight Aronofsky’s coffers were, a small, dirty film Buffalo ’66released in the same year PI, the cost is ten times the original. But like any great low-budget director, Aronofsky lets his limitations work for him: a more traditional approach that a bigger budget might allow only undercuts the film’s surreal and abrasive quality.

related: Darren Aronofsky Prepares To Unveil Immersive Theatrical Experience To The World

What is Darren Aronofsky’s “Pi” about?

Sean Glatter in Darren Aronofsky's Pi
Image via Summit Entertainment

PI is the story of Max Cohen (Sean Glatter), a reclusive mathematical genius who believed that everything in nature—perhaps everything that exists—can be understood in terms of numbers and patterns. He lived in a small Manhattan apartment with Euclid, a giant custom-built computer that he used to make stock forecasts. When a particular input causes Euclid to spit out a 216-digit number before crashing, Max embarks on a path of discovery and madness in pursuit of what could be the code of the entire universe, as stockbrokers and a group of Hasidic Jews try to use him to their own purposes. But as his migraines got worse, he received a stern warning from his mentor, Saul Robertson (Mark Margoliswho played Hector ten years ago breaking Bad), it is clear that the answer Max seeks will destroy him before anyone can exploit it.

On the face of it, the plot sounds ludicrous, like a typical paranoid thriller from the late 90s. In the opening credits of the film, numbers are constantly changing to spell out words. Clint MansellThe (admittedly powerful) technical theme rattling in the background could trick an unsuspecting viewer into thinking they’re about to see something delightfully silly swordfish or antitrust.But then the movie begins in earnest, and the implausibility of the plot becomes a virtue: combined with sights and sounds PI It turns a standard thriller into a bugged fever dream that’s as hard to parse as it is to shake off.

‘Pi’ Has Striking, Scary Cinematography And Sound

pi movie
Image via Artisan Entertainment

The film’s aesthetic, while unmistakable and haunting, isn’t exactly like special It seems so at first glance.semiotics and black-and-white cinematography (by the then unknown Matthew Libatique) in debt Eraser headwhile the fusion of synthetic and organic was undoubtedly inspired by: Iron Man: Iron Man.but there are many ways PI What makes it unique is the ultra-high contrast of its cinematography. At times, it blurs the motion, creating a mesmerizing, disorienting effect: the white keyboard is so faded you can’t see the letters on the keys, and a profile photo of Max completely obscures his facial features , although the camera can be no more than a foot from his head. Other times, it takes familiar surroundings—a cramped apartment, a Jewish deli—and turns them into ominous liminal spaces, places where the outside world no longer exists. At one point, Max delivers a monologue (which is complicated) to the rabbi who kidnapped him; as he grows more angry and passionate, the light hits his face in just the right way, his shaved head, big eyes The head looks uncannily like a skull.

the sound of PI As wonderful as the cinematography is, it’s also disturbing. Noise is inescapable in Max’s world: there’s always the hum of his gigantic computer, the whine of the power drill he’s using to fix Euclid, or the relentless screech of the phone ringing.this is the thing external His head, something objectively present in the universe; viewers can also hear the high-frequency beeping that represents Max’s migraine, and his increasingly aggressive, aimless internal monologue, which eventually turns into a yell. Elsewhere, voices blur the line between reality and unreality: think of the voices of sensual bliss that pop up whenever Euclid investigates a particularly complex problem, be they noisy neighbors or Possibly representing divine creativity, causing Euclid to secrete a dubious goo. White slime. The auditory overload is disturbing; even more disturbing are the parts where the sound disappears completely without warning.

some people may view PI Serves as a mesmerizing if somewhat clumsy test run for the rest of Aronofsky’s filmography. Requiem for a Dreamfor example, using many PI, including rough sound design and quick-cut montages, just with a more polished presentation. It also established many of Aronofsky’s favorite themes, including obsession, Jewish mysticism and shocking acts of body horror. (A particularly memorable example occurs near the end PI; You’ll know it when you see it. ) but at the same time Requiem using these disorienting tropes in the service of punishing melodrama, and Mother! Use them for ominous (if not pretentious) fables, PI A wild, uninhibited artistic impulse. It might be a little rough around the edges, but that’s part of the appeal: As conceptual and heavyweight as Aronofsky has become over the years, it’s fun to see him go crazy for the sake of it ( Although somewhat worrying).

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