MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +2

Content: -1

Mathematicians, computer gurus, and scholars of Judaism will find this prize-winning, low budget feature film mesmerizing. The title refers to the mathematical symbol used to configure the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter. Maximillian Cohen (Sean Gullette), a mathematical genius, spends his life poring over numbers. His computer-filled apartment is his cocoon which he leaves only occasionally to visit his neighbor and mentor, Sol Robeson (Mark Margolis). Sol keeps telling the obsessive, paranoid Max to lighten up, but Max is on the brink of a major breakthrough in discovering the 216-digit numerical designation for the ancient Hebrew name for God. He also stumbles onto a numerical pattern that enables him to accurately predict stock prices. An orthodox Hasidic Jew befriends Max and tries to convince him to share his secret with a rabbi anxious to learn the long lost Hebrew name for God. Meanwhile, Wall Street gets wind of Max's genius and sends out a "not-so-gentle" persuader to gain control of the secret formula. If you enjoy mind teasers and can overlook the absence of sophisticated film technology, PI will deliver 85 minutes of sheer mental stimulation.

Many strong messages dominate this film. Several times Max repeats a lesson he learned as a child: Do not look directly into the sun. He disobeyed his mother's warning, and suffered the consequences by almost losing his eyesight and a lifetime of severe migraine headaches. This same warning is again implied by substituting "God" for sun as Max realizes the rabbi and Wall Street executives are seeking answers to glorify themselves and not God. Max's fear and mistrust of people, even of those like the compassionate young woman next door, blind his needs for love and affection. The stress he puts himself under triggers the migraine headaches, forcing him to inject himself with powerful drugs to relieve the pain. Once he slams his head into a mirror, other times he suffers nosebleeds and passes out from the severe pain. At times it is difficult to differentiate between reality and Max's hallucinations. Max discovers that the business world breeds greed and religion breeds many false prophets, all willing to use physical violence to further their cause. There is no sex or nudity, and the limited violence is not excessive or gratuitous. However, many obscenities and profanities pollute an otherwise deeply moving, intellectual script.

Preview Reviewer: Mary Draughon
Live Entertainment; 15400 Sherman Way, Ste. 500, Van Nuys, CA 91410

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Once - Mild

Obscene Language: Many (15) times - s-word 4, f-word 11

Profanity: Few (3) times - Regular (GD)

Violence: Several times - Moderate (man suffers severe headaches, slams head into mirror, man subjected to hits and kicks by pursuers, man cuts own scalp with exacto knife, bloody nose, imaginary glob of body tissue)

Sex: None

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: Few times (drugs injected and pills taken for medicinal purposes)

Other: Greed and personal glory not condoned; personal relationships superior to intellectual pursuits stressed

Running Time: 85 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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