Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Movie Tip: THE IMITATION GAME

If someone invites you to go see the new film, The Imitation Game, quickly accept the invitation.  It's thrilling.  It's touching.  It's relevant and I'd rank it as one of the top ten best films I've seen this year.  The story is based on the life and extraordinary genius of Alan Turing.  He was a British mathematician   and logician whose brain in itself was an amazing computer.  During the darkest days of World War II, he broke Hitler's Enigma code.  This was a monumental achievement.  You will learn just how monumental his achievements were when you see The Imitation Game.
Alan Turing was a war hero.  He was the modern godfather of the computer.  That's why this story set in the 1940s is still relevant.  He should've been commemorated on a U.S. and/or British stamp.  But this life-saving genius was also an outsider because he was a homosexual.  Being gay was illegal at that time.  As a boy, he was bullied in school.  As a man, this brilliant man was ostracized and persecuted for admitting his sexual orientation.  Think of the positive headlines Apple CEO Tim Cook made last month when he publicly announced that he's gay.  Think of all the openly gay entertainers and news people we now see on national television.  Do not think that kind of acceptance and freedom was always available.  The Imitation Game gives us history.
This is the kind of film that should have been made in the 1980s when I first heard about the legend of this British codebreaker, Alan Turing.  It should've been a big screen, major studio biopic. But, back then, major studios did not green light projects about heroic gay male characters -- men who contributed to the welfare of society with the help of hetero co-workers and friends.  Benedict Cumberbatch is remarkable as Alan Turing in The Imitation Game.  Absolutely remarkable.
In his performance, you come to understand why the quirky whiz distances himself from people.  He's complicated.  He's assertive.  He's infuriating.  He's tough without resorting to violence.  He's independent.  He's different.  He's vital.  And there's pain in his heart.  You hope he will overcome his heartache because his brain is desperately needed.  You want to see this group of outsiders truly become a unit.  The race to break Hitler's code is a daily race against the clock.  Hitler is pure evil loose in Europe, killing millions.  Britain is losing the war.  There may be a spy in Turing's group.
Keira Knightley plays another outsider.  Joan Clarke an outsider simply because of her sex in this male-dominated war effort.  Turing brings her into the group.  He's fascinated by her brain.  She humanizes the loner for the rest of his team.  She hooks into the loneliness of this long distance runner who's the team leader.


This gay man/straight woman friendship is of deeper stuff than those friendships we saw on TV shows such as Will & Grace and Sex and the City.  I've seen Knightley in other films and enjoyed her work.  However, there was something really vivid about her work in this.  Knightley shows an extra passion and fire I've not seen in her other work.  She's very good opposite Cumberbatch.

The thing about Turing in The Imitation Game is that he does care about people. He cares about the world around him.  He cares about Joan.  Yet, like in his boarding school boyhood, society has rudely put him in a confined space.  He could have done so much more for humanity if the legal treatment of him had not been so beastly.
My fabulous friend, Keith Price of Sirius OutQ morning radio, and I saw The Imitation Game together.  We loved it and talked about it for quite some time after the screening.  We talked about the uselessness of  bigotry and the detours prejudice places on the road to progress.  The bigotry of racism, sexism or homophobia.   In the film, Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing says:

"Sometimes it is the people no one imagines anything of who do the things that no one can imagine."

I plan on seeing The Imitation Game again.  Excellent film.  It deserves a Best Picture Oscar nomination.  I'd love to see Benedict Cumberbatch nominated for Best Actor.



6 comments:

  1. My money is on Benedict as best Actor next award season - its his first main movie lead after lots of excellent roles and that tv Sherlock. The film is marvellously engrossing and yes Keira is good too, as well as those great actors like Charles Dance and Mark Strong, plus Matthew Goode and Allen Leech, and the 1940s background is well depicted. Alan Turing of course is big news now and seen as a father of computers and how he was treated back in the 1950s when his gayness was exposed.
    There are several other great performances this year - there's that Stephen Hawking film too which should do well, and Timothy Spall as Mr Turner - but I see Benedict as a main contender

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  2. I totally agree -- a marvelously engrossing film. If times had been different and if we had known of Alan Turing's phenomenal contributions earlier, a 1970s biopic starring Tom Courtenay or Peter O'Toole could have been brilliant.

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  3. I think the Oscar race is on and Steve Carrell and Benedict are contenders.

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  4. Love him on TV as SHERLOCK. Was stunned by his brilliance in THE IMITATION GAME. Benedict Cumberbatch really rates a Best Actor Oscar nomination for this film.

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  5. Alan Turing is one of my heroes. He really deserves a posthumous knighthood, if that kind of thing is possible. It's for that reason I really want to see The Imitation Game. I also think there is room enough in this story for a movie centred on Joan Clarke. She was a remarkable woman at a time when women were not expected to be remarkable.

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  6. If this movie inspires posthumous knighthood of Turing, that would be wonderful.

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