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Movie Review: The Imitation Game

Went with a gang of folks to go see The Imitation Game yesterday. I'd put off going because I'd read a negative review from a source I typically trust (which, I don't even remember where now). Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised; though it's a bit clunky, there's some genuinely good writing in there too. The theme of comprehension and communication especially, though it falls a bit short as the writers/Cumberbatch portray Turing as someone more or less on the high-end if the autism/AS spectrum. There's a bit when bb!Turing is given a book on ciphers from his bestie/child beloved who explains that ciphers are a way of sending messages where you say something but mean something different. Turing counters, "But ALL talking is like that. Everyone says something and means something else, and you're supposed to just know what they really mean!"

[Also: That awkward moment when you feel the only person who could understand you is this fictionalized gay computer programmer. Oy.]

The friendship/love between Turing and the sole woman [as depicted in the film] on the team, Joan (Keira Knightley), is also very well done. Joan is portrayed as basically the first friend/confident Turing has had since he was like ten. When her parents demand she come home--because of course they don't know she's off saving the world--Turing panics and proposes marriage to keep her there, then angsts about it because he's gay. This is one of those moments where the chemistry is all wrong; particularly as played he feels way more ace than gay, especially in the scene where one of the guys is basically like "dude, I know your homosexual, not gonna judge" and I relaly felt that THAT scene would have been much better with some sexual chemistry between the two. (Especially since dude later says he'll happily blackmail Turing if Turing reveals he's a spy. That double-betrayal could have been so. much. better.) Turing eventually tells Joan he can't marry her because gay, and she's like, "So? I know that. You're also the only one who respects me for my mind and I am INTO THAT and we can actually be quite happy together in these deeply sucky and repressive 1940s and 1950s" and Turing is still like, "No! [I really want to save you from blackmail and spying and stuff because I love you too much to let that happen, also you're a woman, so.] GAY GAY GAY!" And then in the end when he's all quivery because of hormone treatments from the chemical castration and stuff she tries to take care of him and it feels awkward.

Also, they criminally underused Charles Dance. Like, Tywin Lannister is freaking awesome, why give him some glowery moments and then basically lose him for the entire last third for no apparent reason? He comes in to turn off and bash the Turing machine and there's a heavy moment where all the other cryptographers come in and say, "If he's fired! I quit!" and they are all left alone because they can't lose their best cryptographers. (At this point in the theater I turned to Scott and whispered, "Good thing they weren't under the Bush administration, huh?")

Mark Strong was also awesome. This is one of his rare moments of playing a scary Good Guy, and--he's very good at it. His MI6 Officer discussions with Turing are always great. "Oh, so and so's not in prison, I just wanted to see what you'd do. Here, take this, there's a thing to do." And he disappears in the end too; as one of my friends asked, why didn't he come back to save Turing in the end? Ah, right, fiction.

In short, it was clunky but well done, and it's nice to have a true and difficult story told to a broader audience. Turing is treated as bit of a martyr--again, rather awkwardly, as one friend noted that they mention the other 49,000 people who were jailed and chemically castrated for being gay, but Turing was the one that MATTERED because HERO. Interesting audience, too; we were like a group of eight thirty-somethings and I swear everyone else in that nearly full theater were in the 50-80 range. I feel like this says something but I'm not sure what.

Comments

( 2 comments — Add your .02 )
tommy50702
Jan. 19th, 2015 05:45 am (UTC)
There are some historical inaccuracies in the movie, especially regarding who worked where at what time during the war.
caitri
Jan. 19th, 2015 05:56 am (UTC)
Oh there's more than a few inaccuracies.
( 2 comments — Add your .02 )

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