Region 1 version


Director: Darren Aronofsky

Starring: Sean Gullette, Mark Margolis, Ben Shenkman

A brilliant, unstable mathematician fights paranoia in his quest to unlock the secrets of the universe.

Maximilian Cohen is a young mathematics genius who believes that there is a pattern to be found within the apparently random numbers generated by a chaotic universe. He’s trying to find a key to the stock market, but is being driven insane in the process. Unfortunately there are other parties trying to use his remarkable mind to solve their own problems, including a Kaballah sect who want him to decode the secret encoded within their holy texts.

A brilliant study in paranoia and alienation, Aronofsky’s Eraserhead-like ultra-low budget movie is a model of economy and inventiveness. It tackles a complex subject with great clarity, and the director draws a fine performance from his actors. Artisan’s Region 1 DVD contains a number of features which enhance the viewer’s enjoyment and understanding of the film, including three minor deleted scenes, (with or without commentary), behind-the-scenes home video, a music video, theatrical trailers, production notes and, most significantly, two full-length commentary tracks, from the director and lead actor. Aronofsky’s track is particularly fine. It conveys a lot of background information concisely, but remains accessible and conversational.

The film was shot in black and white, and is deliberately textured with grain, so it’s difficult to judge how well the transfer has been handled, but once you overcome the initial hurdle, it looks fine. The Dolby Surround soundtrack is serviceable, and reflects the film’s budget. The disc contains the original American version of the film, which was slightly different from the UK theatrical version.

Pathé’s Region 2 version of Π benefits from a more generous Dolby 2.0 audio data transfer rate (256kbps, as opposed to the R1 disc’s 192kbps). The disc contains the same two commentary tracks, behind the scenes material, trailers and music video, but the deleted scenes that feature on the Region 1 disc are here only available with the director’s commentary layered over the top, (on the US disc it’s optional). The grainy B&W image (1.85:1 on both discs - neither is 16:9 enhanced) doesn’t exactly strain the format’s capabilities.


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