HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: The Man who knew Infinity
HTS Overall Score:70
How do you make a movie exciting when it’s based upon a bunch of mathematicians? It’s kind of a hard sell on paper and very few films have done it well. We have “A Beautiful Mind”, but that was much more a story about a man dealing with mental illness than it was about math, but “The Man who knew Infinity” manages to make a very engaging story about just such a man (or two such men really), and make it absolutely fascinating. Part of it probably is due to the fact that everyone loves an underdog story. The tale about the guy who has absolutely nothing and rises up in his field to overcome massive obstacles and trials. It’s a story about human perseverance and strength, not about mathematics. Although, I do admit that I am a little bit of a math nerd myself, having taken way too many courses in my younger days and falling in love with the eccentricities and simplicity that math really is. I’m a firm believe that math is one of the building blocks of the entire universe, and as such, is an amazing insight into reality and how we view reality. Now, I’ll fully admit that I’m just a guy who is good at math, and don’t have the skill set or the dedication to be one of the greats like Ramanujan did, but I highly respect these great minds and the incredible knowledge they have imparted on us over the years.
Based on the real life story of Srinivasa Ramanujan (played by Dev Patel in the movie), “The Man who knew Infinity” chronicles his rise to greatness from just a self-taught Indian man. Ramanujan is just your average everyday Indian man trying to make a living, but under the surface he is a truth mathematical genius. Completely self-taught and on the cutting edge, he catches the eye of Cambridge professor Dr. Hardy (Jeremy Irons) after seemingly proving the good Dr. wrong on one his hypothesis. Shipping the man overseas, Dr. Hardy decides to work with the young man and get his brilliant mathematical formulas published if he can.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=77634[/img]The problems and twists to the story come in the form of prejudice and Ramanujan’s lack of formal training. As an Indian in the early part of the century, he is subject to snide remarks, ridicule and of course the ardent hatred of those who do not wish to see their life’s work undone by someone else. Especially someone they consider inferior to themselves. Then of course there is Ramanujan’s own hang ups. He has some absolutely BRILLIANT formulas, but he is not schooled in the art of proving his own work, which is where he garners some friction from Dr. Hardy. Desperate to get the young man to realize his work by actually spending the effort to use the mathematical proofs, Dr. Hardy and Ramanujan butt heads more times than not as the two completely different personality styles clash time and time again.
Penned from the book of the same name by Robert Kanigel, “The Man who knew Infinity” is a solidly entertaining drama that is comfortingly predictable and enjoyably so in fact. Director Matt Brown doesn’t go off the beaten path very much, transcribing the simple events of Ramanujan’s life with a very laid back approach. There isn’t much done to spice up the story, which can mean it drags at some points, but also means that it doesn’t take wild liberties, as the dry book doesn’t give it much room to wiggle.
One doesn’t really need to understand or really appreciate the finer nuances of higher level math to enjoy the film. It’s a benefit to those who understand the significance of what the man was trying to accomplish, but “The Man who knew Infinity” is not inaccessible to the common man. Instead it focuses on the trials and tribulations of a person who is trying to become something better. BE someone better. Ramanujan is desperately in love with his work, but also in love with his wife, as you see the conflict between wanting to stay in Britain and open his mind some more, but also the love for his wife that is stuck overseas in Indian, waiting for her husband to come back to her.
Rated PG-13 for some thematic elements and smoking
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=77642[/img]“The Man who knew Infinity” is very capable transfer, with only a few small flaws to its name. Overall image clarity manages to be very intricate and sharp for the most part, although there is a soft and glossy look to the picture that dulls some of the more detailed edges and reduces overall fine detail just a little bit. The brighter outdoor scenes in England carry a sun kissed look that shimmers with a teensy bit of blooming whites and black levels show some crush and a bit of a maroon/purple tone to them as well. Still, up close shots and facials are well detailed, with every bit of Hindu prayer markings replicated on the face as well as the wrinkles from the craggy stature that is Jeremy irons. Colors are warm and balanced, showing off light golds and strong primaries with an emphasis on greys during the stay at England, and more pungently strong colors when transferring back to India.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=77650[/img]The 5.1 DTS-HD MA track is a modest one, but one that does everything asked of it with relative ease. A film about mathematicians and their work is not exactly one that you would expect to be highly energetic and bombastic, and that’s exactly the case here as well. Dialog and the limited engagements in the front sound stage are the primary focus, and the vocals are well replicated with crisp sounding highs and mids. There are some mild ambient noises, such as the pitter patter of rain drops falling in the background while Ramanujan and Hardy discuss proofs, and the sounds of leather soled shoes scraping across the echoing school halls. There’s a couple moments of explosive power, the first being the explosion of a bomb during a war time raid on the city as well as the moment when Ramanujan is accepted into the fellowship by the staff. Both sound resoundingly powerful and full of intense LFE, but for the most part it just fades into the background.
“The Man who knew Infinity” isn’t anything that will knock your socks off, but it is an entertaining and endearing story about a man who was brilliant beyond belief in his field, and the ramifications on his life and the lives of those around him during his 5 year stay in England before his inevitable and historical demise. The movie manages to capture the audience’s attention from the get go with standout performances by Jeremy Irons and Dev Patel, and is paired with a very nice looking and sounding set of audio/video specs to create a very nice Blu-ray package (despite the sad lack of extras). Definitely worth checking out.
Starring: Dev Patel, Jeremy Irons, Malcolm Sinclair
Directed by: Matt Brown
Written by: Matt Brown
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1
Runtime: 109 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: August 23rd 2016
Buy The Man who knew Infinity On Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: Recommended for a Rental
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