Academy Award® winner Jeremy Irons (Reversal of Fortune) and Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel) star in this enthralling true story of a friendship that forever changed mathematics. In 1913, Srinivasa Ramanujan (Patel), a self-taught Indian mathematics genius, traveled to Trinity College, Cambridge, where over the course of five years, he forged a bond with his mentor, the brilliant and eccentric professor, G.H. Hardy (Irons), while fighting against prejudice to reveal his mathematic genius to the world. THE MAN WHO KNEW INFINITY “is not so much a film about understanding the numbers, but understanding the men who made us see their merit, and the passion that drives each of us to find the true meaning in our lives.” (Miriam Di Nunzio, Chicago Sun-Times).
Over the years, there have been a number of great films that deal with people in the mathematics arena. From 'Proof' and 'Pi' to 'Good Will Hunting' and 'A Beautiful Mind', we have grown to love this niche genre of films that deal with some deep characters involved in the mathematics. Some of these films have gone on to win Oscars and other awards, and rightfully so. There's just something that hypnotizes the mind when you see someone on screen quickly writing a massive formula on a chalkboard in order to solve some insane equation that will change the world. It's a satisfying experience in the theater and after viewing the movie, as it could inspire great things in creativity.
Matthew Brown's film, 'The Man Who Knew Infinity', based on the book of the same name by Robert Kanigel, tells the true story of the mathematical genius Srinivasa Ramanujan, played here by Dev Patel ('Slumdog Millionaire', 'The Newsroom', 'The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel'). Matthew Brown does a good job of telling his story, despite the predictability and unwillingness to take a step in a fresh direction that the films of this caliber did before it. There isn't anything new in the film that you haven't seen before, whether it be story or filmmaking wise, which just makes for a decent movie that you'd only see once. That being said, the performances by Dev Patel and Jeremy Irons as real life Cambridge Mathematician G.H. Hardy completely sell this film on its realism and entertainment value.
The life of Ramanujan started in the latter half of the 1800s, where he was a poor boy, living in India. His talent was that he understood math, and not just basic mathematics, but complex equations. He taught himself everything and even sometimes didn't understand why the equation worked, but always knew the solution. During World War I, Ramanujan sent his work over to Cambridge, which met the liking of G.H. Hardy, where the two became friends after a while and worked on mathematics, which ultimately led Ramanujan to become one of the most brilliant math minds in history. This story of these brilliant minds coming together to solve math equations is only a slice of the story.
The real meat and potatoes of this story is how Ramanujan had to deal with a ton of prejudice, due to his religion and skin color when he arrived in Cambridge and after. This film tackles those unfortunate subjects nicely, but again, it isn't anything you haven't seen before. Every aspect of the film is decent, but is never particularly memorable, even in the more emotional moments. Again, Patel and Irons's performance drive this movie and keep you interested in their characters and the story at hand. I just wish there was a little more than the usual tropes delivered here in this math genre of film.
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
'The Man Who Knew Infinity' comes with a 25GB Blu-ray Disc from Paramount that is Region A Locked. There is no insert or digital download code for the film. The disc is housed in an eco-friendly, hard, blue plastic case.
'The Man Who Knew Infinity' comes with a good 1080p HD transfer presented in 2.39:1 aspect ratio. The picture as a whole looks good, despite some minor issues here and there. The detail is fairly vivid and sharp throughout with fine detail in closeups that reveal individual hairs and wrinkles in the actor's faces.
The wardrobe stitching looks excllent in closeups as well, revealing every intricate detail of the old time period. Wider shots look a tiny bit softer and don't offer as much depth as the closeups, most likely due to the glossy look of the film. Colors look excellent with great shades of blues and grays, with the green fields of Cambridge popping right off screen. Each color is well balanced and saturated for a realistic look.
The black levels are fairly deep and inky, although there were some moments where the black levels looked a bit brighter than normal. There was some minor video noise throughout as well, but no problems with banding or any other compression issue was recorded, leaving this video presentation with solid marks.
This release comes with a lossless DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix and is mostly a soft sound experience that is front heavy with dialogue. The sound effects and ambient noises of thunderstorms, wildlife, and the ocean sound great and dynamic, but never fully immersive. Each sound is well balanced and layered on each speaker, although I wouldn't say the rear speakers get a great workout with the exception of a couple of large sound moments in the film, including an explosion that packs a decent punch.
The music always adds to the tone of the film without drowning out any other elements. The dialogue is clear and easy to follow, and free of any pops, cracks, hiss, or high shrills. Don't expect a ton of bass here either. This is a nice simple mix that gets the job done.
'The Man Who Knew Infinity' is a decent film that is well made and well acted by Dev Patel and Jeremy Irons, however the usual and predictable biopic tropes are out in full force, never allowing the film to stand on its own two legs. This is not a bad movie by any means, but it's rather forgettable, even though the story is incredible. The video and audio presentations are both decent, but there are zero extras on this release. If you're curious about the story, give it a rent.