Sunday, January 17, 2016

The Imitation Game (2014)

Based on "Alan Turing: The Enigma" by Andrew Hodges
Director: Morten Tyldum
Composer: Alexandre Desplat

Notable Cast Members:
Alan Turing- Benedict Cumberbatch
Joan Clarke- Keira Knightley
Hugh Alexander- Matthew Goode
Commander Denniston- Charles Dance
Stewart Menzies- Mark Strong
Detective Robert Nock- Rory Kinnear
Notable Awards & Nominations:
AFI- Movie of the Year
OSCAR- Best Adapted Screenplay- Graham Moore
nomination-OSCAR- Best Picture
nomination-OSCAR- Best Actor- Benedict Cumberbatch
nomination-OSCAR- Best Supporting Actress- Keira Knightley
nomination-OSCAR- Best Director- Morten Tyldum
nomination-OSCAR- Best Production Design
nomination-OSCAR- Best Original Score- Alexandre Desplat
nomination- Golden Globe- Best Screenplay- Graham Moore
nomination- Golden Globe-Best Picture (Drama)
nomination-Golden Globe- Best Actor- Benedict Cumberbatch
nomination-Golden Globe- Best Supporting Actress- Keira Knightley
nomination-Golden Globe- Best Original Score- Alexandre Desplat

And according to IMDB, TIME magazine named Benedict Cumberbatch's work in this film as #1 on their list of "Best Performance" in 2014


It's kinda unfortunate the way awards season goes sometimes... certain films are given a lot of praise, which show in the number of nominations they get. Yet when game day arrives, they have very little to show for it.
I remember Graham Moore's acceptance speech being one of the better moments of last year's Oscar. It was a little rough at first when he went into some personal history being a gay man, but he started with a great sentiment- "Stay Weird and Stay Different."

After seeing this and looking back on some of the other nominated films I saw from last year... a lot of them were better than "Birdman," but that's just my personal opinion.

Going over the nominated performances, I have no doubt that if Benedict Cumberbatch wasn't against someone portraying Stephen *freaking* Hawking [Eddie Redmayne easily deserved the win], he would have won hands down. Or at least he should have. Everyone said how great Michael Keaton was in "Birdman," but there wasn't nearly as much required of his character comparatively.

Keira Knightley was also brilliant, but I enjoy a lot of her performances... Patricia Arquette still impressed me in "Boyhood."

[He wasn't nominated for anything, but Mark Strong was another great performance in this. After knowing him as Lord Blackwood in Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes, it was cool to see him in a non-villain role].

From a critical standpoint, however many inaccuracies there may be (the one major criticism this movie got), I felt it was really well executed. The production design was great. The script held my attention the entire movie. Despite the seriousness of the subject matter, there were a few moments where I laughed-- thanks to Benedict Cumberbatch.

Anyone who has seen him as Sherlock Holmes would probably say he's playing the exact same role in this movie. He has that same quick-witted brilliance where he's easily the smartest person in the room. Laughter comes when he outsmarts the people around them- most of which deserve to be knocked down a peg. But there are also moments where his eccentricities lead to some unintentional comedic moments.
The one difference between the two character is that Alan Turing is a real person and he happened to be gay (okay, two differences).

After the movie ended, I couldn't help wondering why this didn't win Best Picture... I mean, people complain about how liberal Hollywood has gotten. This non-win brought me back to "Brokeback Mountain." For whatever reason, Hollywood supports movies with gay characters enough to nominate them... but they never win.

Throughout the movie, my dad kept commenting that Alan Turing was just like John Nash in "A Beautiful Mind"... he was on that super genius level that nobody could touch unless they were on the same level.
Maybe it's the British accent, but I found Benedict Cumberbatch more engaging than Russell Crowe.
I didn't say aloud at the time, but the eccentric moments had me wondering if Alan Turing also had Asperger's. Namely, his inability to understand sarcasm. The creators of "Big Bang Theory" INSIST that Sheldon Cooper doesn't have Asperger's, but Jim Parsons plays him as if he does.
Long story short: I saw similarities between two characters, which is probably why I found this performance enjoyable to watch.

And by the end- a bit of a tearjerker for me in the ending credits- my mom said that it was a great movie up until the final 10 minutes.
But it wasn't so depressing that I would never watch it again.

It's a great story based on a recently disclosed piece of history... and it's great that they released this movie so that story can finally be shared on a massive scale.
In fact, this was shown in some of our local movie theaters for much of December 2014-January 2015. And I think there was a brief moment where I was considering it... but just being curious about Benedict Cumberbatch (had only seen him in that last Star Trek movie and two episodes of Sherlock) wasn't enough.

Maybe the next time he's in a movie, I'll be more eager to jump at the chance...

One thing's for sure- I'll never look at my crosswords and cryptoquips the same way again. [Crosswords do actually come into play on one particular plot point... I won't spoil what it is because it was so fun to see it unfold.
Codes... well, that's the main objective of the story. Alan Turing is one of a small number of mathematicians recruited by MI6 (James Bond's British secret intelligence agency) to break Germany's ENIGMA code. A fascinating process to see unfold, but undoubtedly difficult for everyone who wasn't Alan Turing to endure].

Other than the possible inaccuracies, the one drawback this movie has is how it jumps back and forth between three different time periods- when Alan Turing was in a private school, the WWII time period, and 1951 where he was under investigation [let's just say back then, homosexuality wasn't accepted the way it is now].
Although it wasn't nearly as jumbled as "Pulp Fiction" and all of the details fit together in a nice little puzzle of their own.

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