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.