Happy Birthday Euclid; Pi Turns 10

July 10, 2008

Max Cohen is a mathematician, studying the stock market for a pattern. They never really explain why; perhaps it’s the ultimate hypothesis. He is a brilliant young man, but like all young man has his struggles. He stays inside to do work, he visits his old college professor (I imagine), and generally gets along well. Until his computer crashes.

When I first saw this movie, I believe it was 2002, and thought it was the best movie ever. It’s still up there, but definitely not a personal favorite. When I saw it though, I thought I was going crazy. Which was bad – I related to the main character.

After he becomes obsessed with a 216-digit number, he believes he can understand the stock market. In turn, he becomes what his computer had been; a stock market predictor. Some Jewish fanatics believe it is the name of God. Whatever the number is, he cannot control it. It is changing him.

Then, after his last argument with his old professor, the professor passes away. It turns out in the prof’s study of the mathematical constant pi, he too stumbled upon the 216-digit number. Perhaps it is more than a stock market constant, or a computer’s DNA.

And, in turn, it does change him. Max stops taking his pain relievers he always used to reduce his headaches. He destroys his computer, Euclid, which is how he got the number to begin with. He imagines a much needed warm embrace, when he is all alone in the world. He imagines calmness, relaxing, and true perfection. He feels happiness, for the first time in the past week of his life, and past 80 minutes of ours.

Happy Birthday Darren’s little baby. Without it, you wouldn’t be where you are today. Now, I kinda wanna watch The Fountain.

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