THE IMITATION GAME (2014)

THE IMITATION GAME

ACADEMY AWARD NOMINATIONS

  • Best Picture – Nora Grossman, Ido Ostrowsky and Teddy Schwarzman
  • Best Actor – Benedict Cumberbatch
  • Best Supporting Actress – Keira Knightley
  • Best Director – Morten Tyldum
  • Best Film Editing – William Goldenberg
  • Best Original Score – Alexandre Desplat
  • Best Production Design – Maria Djurkovic (Production Design); Tatiana Macdonald (Set Decoration)
  • Best Adapted Screenplay – Graham Moore

Christopher

I was surprised at how interested I was in this story. It wasn’t a favorite in any way but the subject matter was something I knew nothing about. However, the biggest problem I had with this movie was that it did feel very Hollywood and that took me out of the film more than I would have wanted.

I think movies like this can be interesting. It’s based off of something very important in history and it’s told in a way that’s motivating and suspenseful. However, too often I start to wonder how stuff actually went down in history. Did he actually say that? Did she really finish the crossword in less than the time given? This movie seemed like a slight variation on A Beautiful Mind. I also did not like how there were so many time jumps in the movie.

You follow three different time lines. One is Alan Turing as a kid at some sort of boarding school. The other is Alan Turing while he is trying to crack the Enigma code. And the third is Alan Turing as an older man ten years or so after the war. You constantly jump back and forth between these. I feel like this movie would have benefited from just going in order. The main reason why is that you would have a far better understanding of who Alan Turing is as a person. You would have more of an emotional connection during his struggle with Enigma/life.

One of Turing’s biggest struggles was that he was a homosexual. Something that was illegal in England at the time. This is something that is both a big issue in the film but also kind of a secret? You do not find this out about Alan until well into the film. Because of this it felt like they didn’t really want to talk about it. However, parts of the film almost make it seem like the movie was not about cracking Enigma and the great mind behind it but more to bring awareness about gay rights in England. Again, if the movie went in order and we learned about Tuning as he aged, I feel like they would have had a far easier time establishing who he is as a person first, then it could of gone into Enigma and him hiding his sexuality and the struggles that brought.

The film was interesting but it almost felt like a mold of what the Oscars want in a movie. I think I would have been more into this had we just stumbled across it rather than watching it specifically for an awards show.

Elizabeth (spoilers!)

Okay, I’ll admit two things right off the bat about watching The Imitation Game. A.) I thought it was going to be insanely boring, B.) I really knew absolutely nothing about what it was about, and then when I figured out what it was about, I still didn’t know anything about it.

So The Imitation Game is not boring. I couldn’t make it past the first 30 minutes of Tinker Tailor Solider Spy and I think that might have influenced me; I was expecting a super dry, super hard to understand, WWII espionage movie. But it really wasn’t that. It’s about Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch), who was the main British guy who cracked the Enigma code. I only even knew what the Enigma code was because my mom told me about it sometime in high school, and when we started the movie I pretty much just knew it was a Nazi code machine, that’s it. But The Imitation Game does a good job at making it clear how important the Enigma code was, what it was used for, why the Allies wanted to break it, why it was so hard to break, etc etc.

I’m just going to get this out of the way right now: Benedict Cumberbatch is super weird looking. The first time I ever saw him was when he played a rapist in Atonement, and I thought he was horrifying and would have never guessed he would end up being a sort of British heartthrob. Granted, I’ve never seen Sherlock, and I think he’s a great actor, but it is so weird to me that so many people think he’s attractive. ANYWAY . . .

The movie covers all kinds of struggles Turing dealt with: his own lack of social understanding, outside forces trying to stop his work, his sexuality. And while I think it handles how hard social situations were for Turing and how much unfaithfulness in his work he dealt with very well, his sexuality was a little clunky. Or a lot clunky. The story is framed with Turing telling his story to a cop after he’s been arrested for indecency, aka for being homosexual. We also get a good amount of flashbacks to Turing in what was maybe the equivalent of high school and his first love, Christopher. But his sexuality really has nothing to do with his codebreaking, and the codebreaking seems to be the focus of the movie. I totally understand that you really couldn’t have a movie about Turing’s life and never mention that he was gay, and you couldn’t really just mention that he was gay, considering it essentially is what killed him. But it didn’t seem to fit well with the main story, and in the end it felt like the filmmakers wanted us to remember more of the injustices done to Turing because he was gay rather than the important work he did for the Allies.

And while I think overall The Imitation Game did a good job at making something extremely complex easier to understand, there were some elements that didn’t make sense to me and I couldn’t tell if it was just the way the story was being told or if I was just missing something. I definitely understood everything enough to follow along the whole time, but I did feel like I was one scene or even one line away from losing my grasp on the details of the plot.

Overall though, I did really like The Imitation Game. I would maybe prefer a really good documentary on the whole thing, but I liked the movie as it was. And while it is hard for me to look past how creepy I think Benedict Cumberbatch is, he was really good. And let’s face it, Keira Knightley is super weird looking, too, so it all does kind of work in a weird way. I don’t think anyone watching The Imitation Game would be disappointed, unless you have a way better understanding of codebreaking and the whole story in general than I do and find issues with that.

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