Headscratchers / π

  • Kind of minor, but what was up with Max and his neighbor towards the end of the movie? First he's hallucinating because of his headache, then it cuts to her holding him. But then, she's gone. Was he just hallucinating her being there, or was her entire presence in his life an illusion?
    • Depends on how you interpret it, much like everything else in this movie. The neighbor being illusory is of course a valid interpretation. Assuming the neighbor is real, the last cut of her holding him is probably symbolic hallucination in the same vein as him trepanning himself.
  • What was Max talking about when he (seemingly correctly) guessed that they'd tried translating and intoning every single two-hundred-and-sixteen-digit number? Sure, that scene may well have been an hallucination, but even a delusional Max would realize that you could make a billion attempts a day for a billion years and still not get anywhere near every single one.
    • He didn't say every two hundred and sixteen digit number, he said every one that they could find. The reason they descended on him was that he had found an unexplained two hundred and sixteen digit number, which made it much more likely (in their logic anyway) that this number was a message from God than that any other two hundred and sixteen digit number was the correct one. Likewise if there were 216 crop circles in a form that suggested digits then they would probably try to derive a 216 digit number from that as well and see if it worked.
  • Weren't the Hasidic Jewish group in the film looking for a 216 letter name? Why would that be represented by 216 numerical digits?
    • Dunno, a substitution cipher, I think.
    • The Hebrew alphabet also works as a numbering system; the Kabbalists were attempting to analyze the Torah as though it were a massive data set rather than as holy scripture.
    • Gematria—that is, numerology based on ancient Hebrew—is a real-world thing, and a long-standing element of Kabbalah. Click here (from That Other Wiki) for more details than any sane person would want to know.