Sunday, 23 June 2013

π: Blimey … !

You know, I can honestly say that it’s not that often I’ve seen a Darren Aronofsky film.


I think the last one was the thoroughly enjoyable, Natalie Portman vehicle, Black Swan.

So his work is something I’ve not seen a lot of, to be frank.

Until last night, that is.

Last night … ?   Last night, I managed to rent π* from the iTunes Store.

I don’t know if you’ve seen i: but I came away rather impressed … 


π follows the day to day life of Max Cohen, played by Sean Gullette.   Max is an obsessive number theorist who suffers some incredibly painful headaches, in between bouts of work on his theory that patterns can be observed in unexpected places: his particular hobby-horse is trying to find the patterns in the sheer chaos of the rise and fall of the Stock Market.

Until one day, he finds his purpose built server, Euclid, crashing, after picking out a seemingly random 216 digit number.

With one stock market prediction at a very low, nonsensical, value.

It’s only when, the next day, he finds that prediction is bang on the literal money, that he consults an old Maths mentor, Sol — Mark Margolis — who advises Max of two things.   That the number could well be meaningless.

And that he — Max — should take a break.

Something Max ignores: especially when he mets a young Hasidic Jew called Lenny, who tell hims a little of the ancient number searches involved in the ancient branch of Jewish mysticism he follows: and mets Marcie, a Wall Street broker who’s extremely interested in Max ’s work.

Offering an extremely powerful processing chip for his computer.

It’s only when Max uses that chip, and finds his system crashing again, that things go wrong: and his headaches get worse … 


Now … 

Did’t I just have a whale of a time with this … ?

Lordy, didn’t I just … ?

π is a very surreal little psycho-thriller, one that had me thinking loving of the work of William Gibson: someone who’s been a favourite author for some years.

It’s pacey, intriguing, and, giving a focus on some hard science aspects of number theory, WITHOUT alienating a lay audience, great fun to watch.

I enjoyed it: I think you will too.

*        OK, OK, it’s called Pi … !

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