As a math student at Princeton in 1947, John Forbes Nash (Crowe) was eccentric, uncouth and arrogant, but his PhD thesis on 'Non-Cooperative Games' justified his self-esteem, and he was promptly ushered into top level government think tanks. At the age of 30, however, Nash was diagnosed with schizophrenia after claiming he was communicating with 'abstract powers from outer space - or perhaps foreign governments' via the New York Times. Screenwriter Akiva Goldsman takes this last detail from Sylvia Nasar's biography and makes a meal of it, inventing characters, erasing Nash's bisexuality and omitting his divorce from (and subsequent remarriage to) Alicia (Connelly). You couldn't ask for a more dramatic contrast to, say, the softly, softly approach Richard Eyre takes in Iris, a contemporaneous biopic about the intellect and the heart. Surprisingly, given Goldsman's lamentable track record (A Time to Kill, Batman and Robin), his artistic trespass pays dividends, sucking us into the mind of a genius in a way Eyre never quite managed, thanks largely to Roger Deakins' imaginative cinematography. At its most effective when it seems to lose the plot in a scrambled second act that posits the Cold War as a collective paranoid delusion, the film reverts to type (and to fact) for a sentimental anti-climax.
Cast and crew