Written and directed by debutant Darren Aronofsky, ‘Pi’ follows Maximillian “Max” Cohen, a paranoid mathematician who is fixated on searching a key number that according to him will unlock the universal patterns found in nature. A psychological thriller, the film explores themes of religion, psychological disorders, trauma and mysticism, which the director would explore in his future projects. Sean Gullette stars as the protagonist. The actor is clearly able to understand the vision of the director and is quite brilliant in his portrayal of the character. The cinematography encapsulates the subtle horror and terror which loom continuously over Cohen. The background score complements the tonality as it resonates with a sense of unease and agitation. The editing is crisp, which aids in showcasing the fragmented state of the protagonist’s mind.
‘Pi’ is shot by cinematographer Matthew Libatique, edited by Oren Sarch and the score is composed by English musician Clint Mansell. The flick premiered at the Sundance Film Festival won positive reviews for its analytical narrative and the mature performance. Roger Ebert praised the subtlety of the film, writing, “Pi is a thriller. I am not very thrilled these days by whether the bad guys will get shot or the chase scene will end one way instead of another. You have to make a movie like that pretty skillfully before I care. But I am thrilled when a man risks his mind in the pursuit of a dangerous obsession.” It helped the American filmmaker win the award for “Best First Screenplay” at the Film Independent Spirit Awards and the “Directing Award” at the Sundance Film Festival.
For this article, I have taken into account films that have similar narrative structures and visual style as this Darren Aronofsky flick. The films on this list are primarily psychological thrillers, wherein the stories are mostly absurdist in nature. In addition, I have not included films directed by Aronofsky in order to make it more diverse. With all that said now, here is the list of best movies similar to ‘Pi’ that are our recommendations. You can watch several of these movies like ‘Pi’ on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime.
8. The Game (1997)
One of the lesser known works of David Fincher, ‘The Game’ stars Michael Douglas as Nicholas van Orton, a wealthy banker who is invited to participate in a mysterious game. While he accepts the invitation with enthusiasm, Orton slowly finds his life turn into a bizarre phenomenon when his reality becomes indistinguishable from the game, which further point towards a larger conspiracy. A mystery thriller, ‘The Game’ boasts of a narrative filled with twists and turns. Douglas helps execute Fincher’s absurdist vision with his restrained performance. Releasing after the critically acclaimed ‘Seven’ (1995), it was compared unfavourably to the Brad Pitt flick. Fincher himself stated that he was not proud of the project. However, while it is not his best work, it is certainly an engaging watch.