Top 20% of all time (see others with this rank)

Festival Year

1998 (click here to see all competition films from this year)


Dramatic Competition


Sean Gullette, Mark Margolis, Ben Shenkman, Samia Shoaie, Pam Hart, Stephen Pearlman

Non-Cast Credits

Darren Aronofsky, Eric Watson, Scott Voger, Randy Simon, David Godbout, Matthew Ubatique, Oren Sarch, Matthew Maraffi, Cling Mansell


First-time writer/director Darren Aronofsky has crafted an intense, hallucinogenic, and extremely adept exploration into the world of independent science fiction. Depicting one man's obsession to construct a theoretical, numerical order out of chaos in an attempt to decipher a pattern to both the stock market and existence as a whole, he has launched a sense-numbing expedition that simultaneously complies with and defies expectations of science-fiction cinema.

In a world of stark black-and-white imagery, Maximillian Cohen (precisely portrayed by Sean Gullette), a brilliant but troubled young mathematician, has converted his surroundings into a labyrinth of technological gadgetry which constitutes a supercomputer named Euclid. Together, they are on the verge of decoding the key to order in both the material and spiritual worlds. This discovery inevitably attracts factions from each world intent on having the information. An aggressive Wall Street firm attempts to enlist Max as a pawn in their drive for financial domination. As he dodges their persistent efforts, Max is drawn into an ultrareligious cabalistic sect which hopes to use his research to unlock the mystical secrets of their holy texts. The closer he gets to the answer, the more he is plagued with nightmarish headaches threatening his sense of reality.

Without expensive special effects, Pi instead uses innovative cinematography and perfectly conceived music to construct both the paranoid world and fanatical fascination of one man's quest for absolute knowledge. Aronofsky has masterfully fused mathematics end theology to create an eerie sci-fi world lying somewhere between Stanley Kubrick and Rod Serling.


Trevor Groth (see other films reviewed by the same reviewer)

Film Takes Pace.