Friday, October 21, 2016

The Man Who Knew Infinity (2015) UK

All the genius had struggled their way to achieve something extraordinary.

Biography, Drama.

Approximately 6-minute read.

     A British biographical film about a great Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan from the 1910s. I was looking forward to this film since it was in the production, but upset with how it was treated by the film critics. It was liked by the movie goers and I too liked it, but not as much as I was expecting it earlier. No doubt it is a fine film, though I was disappointed for not detailing the person of the film. Might be the perspective of the story narration to be blamed, because it was told from another man's view like how he saw the S. Ramanujan.

     It opened in the Madras presidency of British India, where a struggling young mathematic prodigy, obviously its S. Ramanujan, gets much needed recognisation when he receives a reply letter from the Cambridge university professor GH Hardy. That is the first step how Ramanujan's contribution to mathematics came to exist. Leaving his mother and wife behind, he embarks a sea journey to the west seeking people who can understand his passion. Yet he finds hard to fit in in the London society. From food to culture, and often victim to the racism, how he makes use of his lifetime opportunity despite struggle is the remaining film to disclose.

     It was based on the book of the same name that tells mostly from the mathematics professor Hardy's perspective. But the opening few minute sets in an Indian city which is his outside view. That is just to improvise the tale and I wanted that part a little more. So it was about those two men since the day they have met and their collaboration for nearly 5 years, till the Ramanujan return to India when his health gets worse.

     That's the point I think, to reveal his stint in England with Hardy. Those parts were very nicely told, but still I'm wondering how the original source got those crucial information. I mean the book was written and published in the 1990s about a man who lived a century ago. It might have been the hell of a research to preserve a life story of such genius.

 It's like a painting, I think.
Only imagine it is with colours you cannot see. 

     There are other similar famous films from Hollywood, so I have heard that people comparing them and that's one of the reasons for them not liking it. But when a film is based on someone's real life, definitely that is worth a watch. There are many similar histories since we started to take note for our history book. So that does not mean they are worthless. Every story has its own specialty and so this film.

     This does not just tells how Ramanujan and mathematics came along, but there are cultural differences. Especially a man from India, that too was a century ago means, he totally feels alienated when he crosses the ocean. Unlike Europeans, Indians never interested invading foreign, hence they culturally tied to their homeland for centuries. So he tries to adopt the new society, despite his hunger over something else. I think he would have achieved a lot more if the same support came from his motherland. But at that time India lacked in advancement of any field, so since they are in the British Raj, it was an opportunity to go to England.

     That last part, I'm kind of disappointed with it. Because I wanted to learn how he struggles further with his health condition. Maybe that story leads to a different topic, so I think that's why it was stopped there only to focus on mathematics. If this film had met the success what the filmmakers were anticipated, we could have had hope to see another film on his return to India, where how he handled his torn apart family as well as his love for mathematics.

     Unlike 'The Theory of Everything', this film did not prefer to tell the main character's personal life. It is all about mathematics, so if you are a maths enthusiastic, you might enjoy it. Two mathematics experts produced it with others, it should have been honourable for them to do that and obviously they helped with the equations and formulas that you see in the backdrop.

     This director is kind of new and he did a good job including writing a neat screenplay. I never liked Dev Patel's performances before, I thought he always gives excessive expressions, but I'm very pleased with this one. Anyway, he's not anywhere close to the real Ramanujan in physical and facial appearance. I feel Suraj Sharma would have been good, but in the end, I liked this film mainly because of Dev. Jeremy Irons' contribution was good and so little bit from others including Toby Jones. It is a must see film, because of a person whose contribution to the math field still considered one of the major leap. Don't think the familiarity of the theme, just focus the person and what he did achieve. So I recommend it to all!

Suitable for:
Tween, Teen, Adult, All

Final verdict:
Ignore, Bad, Average, Good, Excellent

Similar movies:
Theory of Everything, Good Will Hunting, The Imitation Game, A Beautiful Mind.

External link(s):

WCA geolocation:
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