The Man Who Knew Infinity
Imagine a biopic that focuses on numbers. Prime numbers. Integers weren’t always called such. It’s hard to believe that math existed before partitions, not that I know how to properly use them. The nature of the universe is unlimited and Srinivasa Ramanujan saw the infinite.
Ramanujan was a math genius and though from impoverished beginnings in Madras he gained admittance to Cambridge in the early Twentieth Century. The Man Who Knew Infinity tells his story and it’s rife with moments of the prejudice of the era. How dare an Indian tell an Englishman how to mark numbers on a blackboard?
Dev Patel plays Ramanujan with an assured performance. Other real life professors are played by Jeremy Irons (G.H. Hardy), Toby Jones (Littlewood), and Jeremy Northam as Bertrand Russell. Stephen Fry plays engineer Sir Francis Spring who is the first to notice Ramanujan’s unique ability and sponsor his trip from India to England. Other members of the cast play Ramanujan’s family in India and students and faculty who taunt and despise him.
The Man Who Knew Infinity was made for matheletes pure and simple. The film unwinds in such a ponderous manner that it’s hard to imagine a general audience grasping its subtleties. Compound that with writer/director Matt Brown using a score that emphasizes wailing female vocals and lamenting music every time Ramanujan has an obstacle in his way.
The Man Who Knew Infinity plays in an exclusive engagement at the River Oaks Theatre.
— Michael Bergeron