We meet Ramanujan as a clerk in Madras and it’s clear from the off that his is an extraordinary mind; this is a man who dedicates his spare time to tackling infinite series (no, we’re not quite sure what they are either). His work is so ground-breaking that when he writes to the academic G.H. Hardy (Jeremy Irons), the professor immediately asks to him to come to Cambridge. It’s a tall order; to get there Ramanujan has to travel some five thousand miles, leaving behind his mother and his wife Janaki (Devika Bhise) who he’s only just married.
Were the film judged by the quality of its acting alone, then it would be hard to fault. Patel is obsessive, caught up in the world of numbers; Irons more phlegmatic, but no less single-minded. What emerges is a detailed portrait of a working relationship; of two people so utterly immersed in the task at hand that the fact of their friendship only dawns on them in time of crisis. Bhise is equally convincing as Janaki, although she’s rather stymied by the script.
It’s a substantial film, dealing with racial prejudice, the violent incursions of war and illness, and the beauty of mathematical logic, but it still feels stiff. The trouble is, it doesn’t do anything new with the biopic conventions, ending up eminently watchable, but by no means exceptional.
|What||The Man Who Knew Infinity film review|
|Where||Various Locations | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Leicester Square (underground)|
08 Apr 16 – 31 May 16, Event times vary
|Price||£determined by cinema|