Matthew Brown’s The Man Who Knew Infinity tells the story of Srinivasa Ramanujan, who grew up with next to nothing in Madras, India. His mathematic ability however, soon gained him attention and his travels over to Cambridge, to be guided by Trinity college Professor G.H. Hardy. The film is based on true events which took place from 1914 to 1920.
Dev Patel plays the main character, with Jeremy Irons in a wonderful turn as professor Hardy. The film is a who’s who of British acting gentry, with turns from Toby Jones (Berberian Sound Studio), Stephen Fry (Jeeves and Wooster), Kevin McNally (Pirates of the Carribean) and Jeremy Northam (The Tudors). Patel is convincing, but from time to time strays into a goofy-adorable character, which is too reminiscent of his role in The Great British Marigold Hotel.
The Man Who Knew Infinity is enjoyable, and for the most part, lighthearted. However one thing which weighs heavy on the story; the inherent racism which Ramanujan experiences whilst over in Cambridge. The disbelief by the fellows of Trinity that an Indian man could have such mathematical knowledge and passion. This only serves to remind the viewer just how different the world was merely one hundred years ago. The influence of God is heavy for Ramanujan, which proves hard for Hardy.
The backdrop of Trinity college is stunning, with excellent detail on furnishings and costumes.
Script-wise, the dialogue, whilst about maths, does not confuse nor alienate the viewer.
All in all, the film held my attention for the duration, however I wasn’t thoroughly enamoured. It’s a perfect Sunday afternoon film, meant for watching under a duvet with a cup of tea in hand. I think I am not entirely within the demographic it is aimed for. I wouldn’t write if off, but if you aren’t 100% excited and convinced, wait for the DVD release.