DATELINE: Not an Ancient Alien
With a plethora of British biopics about geniuses in recent years, it seems only expected that we would have the story of Ramanujan, the brilliant mathematician from India before World War I.
The movie is The Man Who Knew Infinity—and it’s not his car he covets.
Yes, this was the Raj version of Einstein—and you may know all about him from Ancient Aliens, which has touted his connection to star beings.
This movie is the antithesis of that. It is what’s known as a stolid effort with a couple of extraordinary actors. Jeremy Irons is Prof. Hardy, mentor at Trinity to Ramanujan. Since Irons has been appearing in comic book movies lately, this comes as a bit of a shocking throwback to Brideshead Revisited.
He’s wonderful as a dry academic, and Dev Patel is workmanlike as the boy wonder.
It’s hard to make formulae look like a car crash, or even a car chase. As a result, all those esoteric chalklines lose the average viewer. Since numbers are Ramanujan’s best friends, the rest of us lose out.
The film depicts the usual British racism from the Raj—and a misunderstood genius suffers for his talent. The movie is by the book, and we don’t mean graphic novel. This is like Downton Abbey Meets Theory of Everything.
Of course, you know we like any movie that has Toby Jones and Stephen Fry as supporting actors.
We can’t tell a Brahmin from an Untouchable, but this film left us feeling untouched. That’s a shame because this is a good enough movie.