The Man Who Knew Infinity is a good biopic, not the greatest of ones, but does ample justice to the prodigy.
A BRIEF GLIMPSE INTO THE PAST
I remember reading an extraordinary account of Ramanujan from Hardy’s pages back in school, where he subtly described the genius he was and the valuable contribution he made to the Mathematical society. I distinctly remember G.H. Hardy’s thoughts what Ramanujan meant to him, and how impactful was the polymath to his life. Their friendship could be read through those pages I had the good hap of reading.
With that memory stick I went ambling to the theatres to see The Man Who Knew Infinity. To begin with the direction I must say, Matt Brown has a lot of ground to cover. You could see his inexperience through the way he chops off a frame. It leaves you almost baffled. He doesn’t concentrate much on the crucial elements that needs depicting but rather fleets from one cloud to another with a skittish head. There is no subtlety to his frames.
QUESTIONABLE STORYTELLING STYLE
The music in the movie doesn’t complement his work either. It is not at all powerful, and doesn’t ever reach a theatrical level at any juncture. Speaking of theatrics, there is none in the movie. So you can expect a very bland and insipid way of storytelling that will make you averse to the Ramanujan way of living almost instantly.
WHAT STILL WORKS FOR THE MAN WHO KNEW INFINITY
Despite all of the above, what tries to uplift The Man Who Knew Infinity? Who works the best? Jeremy Irons and Dev Patel hands down. Their acting prowess is a joy to watch. Au contraire, some actors we meet in the beginning are really pathetic in the acting department, exacerbated further by Brown’s direction. But then gradually the biopic picks up its pace and we see Jeremy Irons on a roll. His speeches are intelligently carved, and his reckless yet powerful voice does justice to all of them. Toby Jones as Littlewood was a pleasant genial companion. Jeremy Northam does a great Bertrand Russell as well.
AFFAIR WITH ORIGINALITY
The story doesn’t digress from the original which was a good thing. The number 1729 isn’t missed either. The setup however gets a little bit morphed there, but we can understand that was done for emphasis. The drama isn’t the touching kind.
THE RAMANUJAN FATE
It is unfortunate what happens to great men. S. Ramanujan couldn’t escape life’s unpredictable warps either, and ended up disappearing in a dire mist.
At the end I feel his life needs to be glorified a bit more. There was little we saw of his origins, and his progression towards his virtuoso which is a key factor into moulding a prodigy-biopic.
What Matt did with The Man Who Knew Infinity was good but what Ramanujan deserves is the best.
Chappie misses out by miles on what it set out to achieve. The trailer promised an epic tale of Sci-Fi with A.I. in its vanguard manifesting right bits of drama. Unfortunately it belied the actual prosaic content.
Taking Elysium’s mediocrity into consideration, Neil Blomkamp’s robot with a mind of his own doesn’t go far either. You can munch on your popcorn pointing out at the clumsiness of the machine, but that’s pretty much it. It isn’t outstanding. At the same time it is entirely bad either.
The plot of the flick unfolds brilliantly at first however midway ends up being insipid. The story is very predictable to the point you might actually end up saying: I saw that coming! As the movie reaches its laughable climax, you just wonder out loud if the director was really serious going in for the bizarre cessation.
Chappie was written poorly in mediocrity. The only thing that works pretty well for the movie is its visual effect. Details on the robot are extremely well fabricated. Also some action visuals look pretty dope.
Chappie cannot be compared to the likes of any good artificial intelligence movie. Nowhere near A.I. or Her of course. Its drama isn’t at all moving. Screenplay has nothing much to offer and every projected bit seems deliberate – to make the movie work of course.
To begin with, Chappie lacks focus big time. There is literally no time spent on character development, and we are forced to jump into a pyre of a chaotic backdrop with a news report showing glimpses of quintessential elements in the tale. You are shown a tattered robot receiving an engineering treatment. The amount of focus it receives tells us it must be our protagonist. (Very obvious direction!) You have a creator (Dev Patel), an antagonist brimming with malice (Hugh Jackman), and a boss (Sigourney Weaver) that doesn’t do much for whom both are working. For an A.I. to learn stuff, Neil throws Chappie into an abyss of gangsters to spice things up, with an unusual home to influence his mind with outrageous stuff and contrasting moral values. Although to our surprise the lady gangster starts playing mommy out of the blue. A softer side emerges in her and that too without any drama.
Whilst Chappie is learning stuff, at first things are a tad cute, but as we dig deeper it becomes downright sad. Dev Patel seems to be in a constant fit. He looks like he is heading for a nervous breakdown. Hugh’s presence was supposed to make things powerful however Neil doesn’t offer him much to act on.
Neil’s obsession with Sci-Fi has become sheer pathetic. He seems to be trying to assemble a golden egg like District 9 but unfortunately he has simply ran out of juice. He doesn’t surprise us anymore. With Chappie coming in strong as a bland and lacklustre movie, I wonder what would he do to his next best thing – The Alien project?