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The Man Who Knew Infinity Blu-ray Review

The Man Who Knew Infinity (2016) movie poster The Man Who Knew Infinity

US Theatrical Release: April 29, 2016 (UK Release: April 8, 2016) / Running Time: 109 Minutes / Rating: PG-13

Director: Matthew Brown / Writers: Robert Kanigel (book); Matthew Brown (screenplay)

Cast: Dev Patel (Srinivasa Ramanujan), Jeremy Irons (G.H. Hardy), Devika Bhise (Janaki), Kevin R. McNally (Major MacMahon), Jeremy Northam (Bertrand Russell), Arundhati Nag (Komalatammal), Dhritiman Chaterji (Narayana Iyer), Anthony Calf (Howard), Richard Johnson (Vice Master Henry Jackson), Pαdraic Delaney (Beglan), Shazad Latif (Chandra Mahalanobis), Raghuvir Joshi (Narasimha), Roger Narayan (Scribe), Stephen Fry (Sir Francis Spring), Toby Jones (John Edensor Littlewood)

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Knowing how few lead roles Hollywood has for people of color, it was perfectly reasonable to expect Dev Patel to fade into obscurity after starring in the Oscar-dominating 2008 drama Slumdog Millionaire. But the British actor born to Indian immigrants, largely unrecognized for his work as the heart and soul of Danny Boyle's highly endearing crowd-pleaser, has endured.
He survived following up his breakout role with a performance in M. Night Shyamalan's much-maligned The Last Airbender. Two Best Exotic Marigold Hotel movies and one Chappie later, the now 26-year-old Patel stars in The Man Who Knew Infinity, filling the titular role of genius Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan.

The film opens in Cambridge, England in 1920. There, professor G.H. Hardy (Jeremy Irons) extends an invitation for Ramanujan to come to Trinity College and share his brilliant but unproven ideas. Ramanujan, who has had to overcome doubters in his native India and those suspicious of his lack of formal education, seizes this opportunity in the hopes of getting published. In the UK, he faces further skepticism from academics and some disdain from xenophobic military, but Ramanujan persists, Hardy's belief in him unshaken.

While pursuing proofs of Partition and Prime Number theories, Ramanujan is proposed for fellowship by Hardy to unsurprising opposition. Meanwhile, Ramanujan's distance weighs upon the young wife (Devika Bhise) and mother (Arundhati Nag) he left behind in India when trading in his robes for a tweed suit.

Dev Patel plays naturally gifted Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan in "The Man Who Knew Infinity."

This film is equally interested in the man who knew infinity's mentor. Hardy, a socially awkward atheist married to his job, grows to see the spiritual Ramanujan as some kind of proof of a higher power. There is a serious threat of the world being robbed of a genius when Ramanujan suddenly begins exhibiting symptoms of the advanced tuberculosis he has developed.

Adapted from Robert Kanigel's 1991 Ramanujan biography of the same name by Matthew Brown, who also directs for the first time since 2000's unknown Ropewalk, The Man Who Knew Infinity is stately and polished. Mathematics is not the most cinematic of fields, but Brown and company know this and try to respond by making the film about more than just math.
These efforts produce mixed results. The strain of the protagonist's marriage never really computes and it's always obvious that without the math, there is no movie, even one whose opening suggests creative licensure with its claim of "based on true events."

Both Patel and Irons give compelling lead performances that each welcomes at this point in their careers. Receiving mixed but lightly positive reviews, The Man Who Knew Infinity grossed nearly $4 million domestically and another $7.2 million outside North America. That was enough to make it one of IFC's all-time Top 10 grossers and to qualify the movie as a commercial success from a theater count that peaked at just 288.

Adding to the deal that has included Boyhood and 45 Years, The Man Who Knew Infinity hits home video on Tuesday from Paramount Home Entertainment, who release it in both barebones DVD and Blu-ray editions.

The Man Who Knew Infinity Blu-ray Disc cover art -- click to buy from Amazon.com Blu-ray Disc Details

2.40:1 Widescreen
5.1 DTS-HD MA (English)
Subtitles: English, English for Hearing Impaired, French, Spanish
Not Closed Captioned
Release Date: August 23, 2016
Suggested Retail Price: $39.99
Single-sided, dual-layered disc (BD-50)
Blue Keepcase with Side Snap
Also available on DVD ($29.98 SRP) and on Amazon Instant Video

VIDEO and AUDIO

The Man Who Knew Infinity may not have the budget of one of Paramount's own new movies,
but you can't really tell the difference in the Blu-ray's excellent 2.40:1 presentation. The sharp, clean element is complemented by a crisp 5.1 DTS-HD master audio soundtrack and no fewer than four subtitle tracks.

BONUS FEATURES, MENUS, PACKAGING and DESIGN

The Man Who Knew Infinity's Blu-ray is as barren as it can be. The disc holds no extras, not even trailers for this or other Paramount properties.

The silent, static menu is simply and directly adapted from the poster-cover art.

No inserts join the plain blue disc in the unslipcovered eco-friendly blue keepcase, which is the way of saying that this is the rare new movie not equipped with Digital HD.

Jeremy Irons plays Ramanujan's mentor G.H. Hardy, a prickly but respected mathematical authority.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

The Man Who Knew Infinity does a decent job of telling a moderately interesting story you probably don't already know. Mathematician biographies being few and far between on film, this should raise some interest from certain corners of academia, but don't expect to be blown away if that isn't your bag.

Paramount's Blu-ray provides a great feature presentation and absolutely nothing more, making this disc, like the movie it holds, much better suited to a rental than a purchase.

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Related Reviews:
New to Disc: Louder Than Bombs • A Hologram for the King • The Adderall Diaries • Demolition • Last Days in the Desert • The Bronze
Dev Patel: Chappie • The Newsroom: The Complete First Season
Jeremy Irons: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice • The Words • Beautiful Creatures • The Lion King
Toby Jones: The Hunger Games: Complete 4-Film Collection • My Week with Marilyn • The Rite
Paramount & IFC: Boyhood • 45 Years • Happy Christmas • Clouds of Sils Maria • Good Kill

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Reviewed August 20, 2016.



Text copyright 2016 DVDizzy.com. Images copyright 2016 IFC Films, Mister Smith Entertainment, Edward R. Pressman, Animus Films,
Cayenne Pepper Productions, Xeitgeist Entertainment Group, Marcys Holdings, and Paramount Home Entertainment. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.