The Man Who Knew Infinity is a modest, insightful historical drama that examines the methods to the madness attributed to genius. The film tells the story of Ramanujan (Dev Patel), a genius mathematician from India, who’s mentored by the veteran professor G.H. Hardy (Jeremy Irons). The two attempt to crack the a genius mathematical theory, while World War I rages on and Ramanujan’s personal struggle comes back to haunt him.
Dev Patel possesses a likable quality, and sells the genius of the character. It’s one thing for the film to stage his genius, but Patel gives a convincing and nuanced performance. Jeremy Irons is also excellent, giving depth and emotion to what could’ve been a throwaway character.
The film has its conveniences, and certainly goes through the motions of a biographical film. However, the attention to detail in the math formulas, and the excellent performances from Patel and Irons, elevate the material. The film hits solid emotional beats, and makes for a satisfying historical drama. Grade: B