The Man Who Knew Infinity
Dev Patel stars in this biopic of Srinivasa Ramanujan, a poorly educated Indian mathematician who was admitted to Cambridge University on the eve of World War I, where he made some of the most important breakthroughs in the history of his field. It’s a fascinating life story, but writer-director Matthew Brown’s adaptation of Robert Kanigel’s biography takes the most doddering and insulting paths possible. The narrative is framed as a flashback of Jeremy Irons’ professor G.H. Hardy, turning Ramanujan’s life story into one of those simpering, pseudo-inspirational, I-tried-to-tame-the-savage-beast-but-really-I-was-the-beast-and-he-tamed-me-whaaaaa biopics that seem to appeal to a certain demographic. And as with Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything, Ramanujan’s herculean scientific achievements are valued only in their supposed ability to prove the existence of God. Highly respected contemporary mathematicians produced and consulted on the film, so at least they got the math right, if little else. D.B.