The Man Who Knew Infinity

DRAMA; 1hr 48min

STARRING: Dev Patel, Jeremy Irons, Devika Bhise

To Infinity — and beyond! Patel

Filmmaker Matthew Brown's soft-centred portrayal of mathematician extraordinaire Srinivasa Ramanujan (Patel) opens with a quote from philosopher Bertrand Russell about the "supreme beauty" of complex equations. That sums it up, ahem, for Srinivasa, whose unparalleled grasp of brain-spinning maths is a paradoxically isolating lifeline. His intellect sets him light years apart, hence his job as a clerk in 1914 Madras where he's grateful to work at all.


Grateful, that is, until Srinivasa's written proposal to "bring meaning to the negative values of the gamma function" (whatever the hell that means) strikes a chord with Trinity College professor G.H. Hardy (Irons), whose English reserve will be pierced by his intuitive brilliance. Installed at Trinity solo with his wife (Bhise) pining back home, Srinivasa is still an alien, however: although running mental rings around its poncy stuffed shirts, he must still bite their procedural bullet and prove his instinctual theories.


Even if balancing a cheque book is a stretch, Patel is so soulful and affecting you'll be caught up in Srinivasa's lonely struggle to be seen. Infinity's politics are as dusty as a library stack. But its drama is all-absorbing when Patel and Irons hold the screen, and a heartache after fate crashes in.