The Man Who Knew In­fin­ity

HK Magazine - - FILM -

(UK) Biopic. Di­rected by Matthew Brown. Star­ring Dev Pa­tel, Jeremy Irons, Toby Jones, Stephen Fry. Cat­e­gory IIA. 108 min­utes. Opens Jun 23. Biopics of sci­en­tists and math­e­ma­ti­cians have been pop­u­lar film fod­der in re­cent years, what with Ed­die Red­mayne’s Os­car-win­ning per­for­mance in “The The­ory of Every­thing” as Stephen Hawk­ing and Bene­dict Cum­ber­batch’s role as clos­eted code breaker Alan Tur­ing in “The Imi­ta­tion Game.”

But such biopics of­ten get for­mu­laic: af­ter all, the aim is al­ways to de­mys­tify a largely mis­un­der­stood leg­end—his ge­nius as well as his com­plex the­o­ries, which al­ways need to be sim­pli­fied for the pub­lic to un­der­stand. While this bi­o­graph­i­cal drama of Madras-born math ge­nius Srini­vasa Ra­manu­jan (played by Dev Pa­tel) doesn’t ex­actly break the mold, it’s heart­en­ing to see the char­ac­ter shine for him­self. He’s not “saved” by his men­tor in any way, nor is his life’s work and phi­los­o­phy over­looked for a more au­di­ence­con­sum­able love story, as usu­ally tends to hap­pen.

In­tro­duc­ing the film is Jeremy Irons as G.H. Hardy, the athe­ist aca­demic who be­came Ra­manu­jan’s close aca­demic ad­vi­sor and friend through­out his time at Trin­ity Col­lege, Cam­bridge. Hardy rem­i­nisces about how Ra­manu­jan changed his faith in math­e­mat­ics and in peo­ple. Ra­manu­jan, who grew up poor in Madras, was blessed with the gift of num­bers and was able to craft com­plex math­e­mat­i­cal the­o­ries with­out for­mal train­ing—lead­ing to his jour­ney to Cam­bridge.

Much of the film is Ra­manu­jan fight­ing against prej­u­dices to reach greatness; start­ing from the jokey, snob­bish fore­man (Stephen Fry, ba­si­cally as him­self)

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