In his stunning debut feature film, Aronofsky tells the story of Maximillian Cohen's (Sean Gullette) obsession with numbers and his theory that they hold the key to the answers of the universe. His work causes him agonising migraines and his former teacher Sol (Mark Margolis) advises him to take a break from trying to discover patterns in the stock market. When Max's super computer crashes after spitting out a 216-digit number, Max initially dismisses it, until the prediction comes true, and he realises that the number which he consigned to the trash could be the key he has been searching for.
Darren Aronofsky's debut feature is an exhilarating, electrifying, and eye-opening experience from start to finish.
Max Cohen is a truly fascinating character, not just because of his remarkable intelligence, but because we dive into his POV and experience how his obsession over finding the pattern in the stock market drives him to insanity. Plus, he's exactly the kind of character that should be at the centre of these themes, since he isn't the only one who loses his mind here. Practically his whole world has gone mad over finding the ultimate answer through his genius, and I think it reflects how our society has become obsessed with finding the ultimate truth.
Shot in black and white on a shoestring budget, and packed with some wild editing choices, the movie also has this beautiful grittiness to it that really reflects Cohen's mindset. And the music is something else too, and is bound to get your the heart pumping as we race from scene to scene, and from calmness to paranoia.
Is this movie going to be to everybody's cup of tea? No! Aronofsky's work is something of an acquired taste. But personally, I thought this was an astonishingly great film, especially for a first-timer! If you like some of his other work (Requiem for a Dream (2000), Black Swan (2010), you'll most likely enjoy this one too!