Posts Tagged ‘Dev Patel’

Today’s reviews are for a pair of biographical movies about two geniuses.  The men are Srinivasa Ramanujan and Alan Turing.  Technically, both are mathematicians, but Turing is more remembered for his work with computers.  The two movies are titled: “The Man Who Knew Infinity” (2015) about Ramanujan, and “The Imitation Game” (2014) about Turing.
The Man Who Knew Infinity” (2015)  —  movie review
This movie stars Dev Patel as Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan and Jeremy Irons as his British mentor (collaborator) G. H. Hardy.  Basically, a poor, self-taught mathematician moves to Trinity College at Cambridge after mailing some of his work to a world famous mathematics professor (Hardy).  The two collaborate (and publish), but the movie is basically about their personal relationship and not about their maths.  The movie is beautifully shot in both India and England and I was moved by the depictions of both environments: brightly colored poverty contrasted with muted earth-toned (relative) wealth.  A second major plot contrast is Hardy’s atheism vs Ramanujan’s devout Hindu faith.   Ramanujan tells Hardy that his math comes from the lips of his god.  Hardy can only struggle to understand divine inspiration.  In the end, Hardy accepts that his friend believes it is true even if he cannot share that belief.
Final recommendation:  highly recommended and I look forward to reading the book (of the same title) the movie is based on.
The Imitation Game” (2014)   —  movie review
This movie stars  Benedict Cumberbatch (aka Sherlock Holmes / Doctor Strange) as Alan Turing and  Keira Knightley as Joan Clarke who was Turing’s fiancé briefly.  Turing was a homosexual and at that time, being gay was considered a serious crime in England.  Both Turing and Clarke were mathematicians who became cryptologists.  They famously developed a computer which was used to break the Nazi Enigma cypher.   This movie describes this invention and Turing’s subsequent suicide.   As a personal note: I consider Turing to be one of the seminal figures in computer science and in artificial intelligence.  The “test” for general purpose artificial intelligence is named “The Turing Test” and based on one of his papers.
Turing and Clarke worked closely together and are reported to have actually been very close friends although I’ve seen Turing portrayed as almost autistic in dealing with social settings, so I’m not sure how accurate the descriptions or the portrayals have been.  In any case, Turing proposed marriage to Clarke and then later withdrew and admitted to being gay.  The movie purports to Clarke being indifferent to Turing’s sexuality as she is contented with having a relationship with a friend and an intellectual equal.
The “surprise” hack at the end of the movie is the realization that the Nazi messages all end the same and this can be used as a key to reduce the number of variations the computer needs to evaluate.  Whether this is what actually happened or not, I don’t know, but it did make for a plausible ending!  Final recommendation:  highly recommended!
While I enjoyed both movies I would rate “Infinity” slightly higher than “Imitation”.  I’m not really sure why, but I’ve already re-watched “Infinity” twice and I’m just getting around to my second viewing of “Imitation”.  But, again, both highly recommended…
On This Day In:
2016 Come Dance And Laugh With Me
2015 Looks Good To Me
2014 Desire For The Sea
2013 The Fierce Urgency Of NOW
Happy Inauguration Day!
2012 One Path
Sorrow And Joy
The Seven Year View
2011 Emergent Practicality

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Last night, Hil and I watched (actually re-watched) “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” (2011).  The movie is about a group of seven retired (elderly) Brits who decide to move to India to retire and live out the rest of their days.  Well, actually, it’s only six.  One of the pensioners (Dame Maggie Smith’s character) is actually only going to India for a hip replacement.
The hotel owner / manager Sonny Kapoor is played by Dev Patel.  His dream is to take a falling down hotel which his father owned and turn it into a modern hotel to “out-source” old age to foreigners.  The business concept is in-fact quite viable as my wife has a good friend who knows two colleagues who have done just this very thing (retired to India) and I have a good friend who spends six months of every year living in the Philippines.  The fact is, if you can stand the climate and the culture, it is quite feasible to leave the United States to live out your retirement years in relative comfort in a “poorer” part of the world where your currency (retirement pension) buys more.
The cast of this movie is exceptional.  The movie is a lightly comedic drama.  That is, it is meant to convey a number of ideas about “finding one’s self” in old age, by being willing to take chances and start over in a new place.  As such, it is a “fairy tale” as much as a pure drama.  The comedy comes in from the “normal” course of cultural clashes the retirees experience and there is a particularly funny set piece involving the girlfriend of the hotel manager, his mother and one of the guests.
If you enjoyed “The King’s Speech” or “Quartet“, you’ll almost certainly enjoy this film.  I certainly did.  Final recommendation: Highly Recommended!
On This Day In:
2014 Friends
2013 Learning Bitter
2012 Remembrance, Minstrels & Going Off To War
May I Have More Happiness, Please?
2011 There Is No God, But God
2010 Another Running Book…

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