Leaving the theater where we saw The Man Who Knew Infinity, I said to my collaborator that the film had me thinking of year-end awards, something that annoys me when other critics and show business media do it, so early. But I was recalling that the most exciting event of the 1985 awards season was the announcement by the National Board of Review that their best actor award was going to William Hurt AND Raul Julia for Kiss of the Spider Woman. We need more of this kind of creative award giving.
Without knowing what performances may be revealed between June and December, I am right now in favor of a best actor award to Dev Patel AND Jeremy Irons for The Man Who Knew Infinity. Having enjoyed Patel previously as a charming and talented movie star, I was unprepared for the profound and intense characterization that he creates in Infinity. In a riveting story about two mathematicians, he and Irons are superb — and exciting. Math is suspenseful here. The two men play together extremely well. This is a student/mentor relationship (who is which?); it is something of a duel though not a rivalry; it may be a bromance (minus sex content). Whatever you find it to be, it is vivid, and visual.
If criticism back home in India of Patel’s portrayal has any point or validity, it is trumped by his (and the director’s) creation of an Indian who is right for this screenplay and its worldwide audience.
The Man Who Knew Infinity Matt Brown (writer/director) 2016 (USA)
NEXT FRIDAY POST June 10
See you at the movies,