I think this is one of the most disappointing psychological thriller movies I've seen, especially considered how hyped it is. The math in it is poor and underdeveloped, the actual number Pi barely appears instead giving path to a weird amalgam of the Golden Ratio and gematria, after discarding a plot about finding patterns in Pi followed by discarding finding patterns in the stock market. It is so directionless, and the mysticism in it reminded me of The Da Vinci code except if its plot didn't go anywhere, otherwise it's just as shallow. Which feels really awkward for a movie named Pi.
The rest of the character-study strongly reminded of A Beautiful Mind, the plot is similar to a mix of it and Da Vinci Code. And if I have to re-watch a math-illiterate movie about an unlikable protagonist getting paranoid about numbers and conspiracy theories in his head, I'd much rather go for ABM.
The filmography was top-notch for what it tried to achieve. Darren Aronofsky can clearly do other styles, so my cynicism towards this style falls apart. I think the filmography works great for the film's premise... but it didn't matter to me because I so, so don't like the movie's execution. It's so shallow. It has none of the mind blowing aspects of any other well-regarded psychological thriller, to the point where I can't even say it's lightweight David Lynch, or Perfect Blue, which Aronofsky sure likes a bit too much because whether he denies the influence or acknowledges it, the similarities to the edit and cut style is everywhere even in this movie.
American filmmaker Darren Aronofsky acknowledged the similarities in his 2010 film Black Swan, but denied that Black Swan was inspired by Perfect Blue; his previous film Requiem for a Dream features a remake of a scene from Perfect Blue.
It feels like this movie really wants you to feel confused and distraught, as if part of the same narrative style from psychological thrillers like Memento, or most movies where the character is an unreliable narrator. However there is nothing confusing: The movie is extremely linear. And there is also no depth to its linearity. At no point the possibility that the main character's hallucinations are real or not is a game changer, as neither would lead to a change in the plot. I guess this is the trick that this movie tries to play, and where it completely falls apart to me in its flatness: There are no stakes from the outside world to the main character as he actively doesn't care about it, whether it's his hallucinations or truth, except for one over-the-top scene where he's threatened. But it's irrelevant, whether it's fake or real, all the problems go away with a magical trepanation. I hate to keep comparing it to later movies, but the best way I can describe the ending is like a weaker, lifeless version of the ending of Shutter Island.
The score reminds me of 80's Japanese Horror movies, especially the parts with gruesome fast cuts, very reminiscent of black and white Japanese body horror. But even then it's still like a pale imitation. As is the body horror aspect. To me this is what this movie can be summed up as: A pale imitation of things dozens of other movies have done far, far better, and the sum is not greater than the parts.
I almost gave it a 3 rather than 2.5 purely because this movie came before most other movies I've been comparing it to, and I didn't get to watch it before. But I think that's dishonest with what I feel. I didn't watch Psycho in 1960 and at no point did I think it was anything less than amazing. This movie on the other hand was just boring, extremely predictable for a psychological thriller and even if I exclude all the western movies from the 0s and 10s it is still overly derivative of much better 80s and 90s Japanese movies.
Elentor fucked around with this message at 15:23 on Dec 27, 2019
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