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Easy as Pi Maybe Not

Some people argue that independent film is a purer form of film when compared to the high budget Hollywood blockbusters. Independent films usually show exactly what the writer intends whereas the higher budget competitors become a mix of the writers and producers desires, targeted at the viewers attention and their money. The movie p is about the climactic downfall of a middle-aged mathematician’s life as he searches for one thing an answer to chaos and randomness. The movie is about Sean Gullettes character, Maximillian Cohen, a man with a numerical gift.

According to Max, he gazed at the sun at some point during his childhood, forcing his hospitalization. This staring at the sun was the catalyst causing him to begin to think numerically. He instantly became a number theorist and sought the answer to natures randomness. The movie was named p because the actual number p, 3. 1415926 is the ratio of the diameter of a circle to its circumference. In the movie, a 216-digit number is said to be the ratio that brings anything in nature down to its mathematical components. Max was searching for this universal constant, but was unsure of what he was actually looking for.

On a daily basis, Max used his supercomputer, Euclid, (which spanned his entire Chinatown apartment) to make attempts at computing this value. Some days he would make accurate predictions, others he might not have been so lucky, but he never considered it luck it was all math. Two groups apparently had been following Max at this point a group of Hasidic Jews and a stock market trading house. They were both also seeking this 216-digit number for their own reasons. The Jews needed it because in their language each letter is given a corresponding number.

This 216-digit number is supposedly Gods real name, spelled out in its numerical format, or so the Torah says. The trading house knew this 216-digit number could predict the rise and fall of stock market values. One group was after salvation while the other was after money. Max could care less about either one, as he was after satisfaction the closer he came to this number, the more insane he became. He felt that if he found this number he would also find peace and tranquility within himself, as he will have found a reason for everything.

Max was not traveling down this river alone, however. He had a mentor, an older man named Sol, who apparently at some time was pursuing Maxs desires as well. Sol ran into some complications along the same path as Max, and reluctantly gave up to avoid further health complications. Max stubbornly would not take Sols advice. Sol did bring Max to realize that he had found his number. The same number which Max had thrown out earlier that morning with the impression that it was an error in his computer, which crashed only seconds after it had been computed.

It was a sign Max was unaware of. Once something resulted in this number, it could not survive. The health problems were the reason Max was also having troubles finding numerical meaning. With each breakthrough he made, he came down with mind-numbing migraines and hallucinations. The movie became a battle between Maxs research and Maxs sanity (although Max was not relatively “sane” to start off with). At one point in the movie he had shaved his head as a result of the headaches and found some strange scar he apparently had not known about.

He focused all his grief and anxiety on this scar as if it were the cause of all his troubles. The movie closes with Max drilling a hole in his own head showing he was wrong in his assumptions. He had assumed that this number would be the answer to all his questions but it had only brought him pain and confusion. In the end, he knew his number and his answer, which was worth taking his own life. This movie was wonderfully composed most likely because it was both written and directed by Darren Aronofsky. Since he was both writer and director, he was able to show almost exactly what he intended.

His ideas were presented through the use of grainy black and white filming, most of which done on a handheld camera, which was very shaky and jerky at times. The black and white filming along with its rough techno soundtrack aided the effect of the hallucinations to the viewer. The blood is more pronounced and everyday things do not seem so normal anymore. The setting was well placed in Chinatown and the subway systems of New York City. It was a place more chaotic than any other; a place where this 216-digit number could really be put to use for some serious and dangerous explanations. s definitely not an easy movie to watch. It is filled with many disturbing scenes almost too many. The answer to the Jews and the trading companys questions (the 216-digit number) is the only compelling result of these scenes. Aronofsky could have surely made the same points with much less use of them. The main theme of this movie was the balance within Max. For every moment he came closer to defining this number, the closer he came to losing his mind and finally his life. This movie relates to everyone who has a gift, not necessarily the mathematically inclined.

People who have gifts go above and beyond. They set new records and prove the unproven. These people are the stars of society. They are: Galileo Galilee, Christopher Columbus, Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. , and John F. Kennedy, to mention a few. These people have taken their gifts and given them to society. They have taught people what they have learned as results of their abilities. Without these gifted people, society would be stuck in the caveman era with no progression whatsoever.

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