The Imitation Game reviews

Uri
Adjunct
Posts: 1168
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 11:37 pm
Location: Israel

Re: The Imitation Game reviews

Postby Uri » Sun Jan 11, 2015 12:16 pm

By falling victim of the dreaded 403 curse, my post ended in a relatively positive note, which is not me at all, I’m afraid. So let’s give it another try.

Well – it’s better than The Theory of Everything. It’s was not an unpleasant film – I found myself enjoying it for some kind of nostalgia it evoked in me – not to the period it portrayed or the old fashioned style of movie making it certainly emulates, but to a certain kind of very English literature I was rather fond of as a child. This is Enyd Blyton’s The Cracking of the Code by the Secret Five (or six or seven – how many were they?) Here there’s a scent of - not unlikable - juvenile take on history, science, technology and, yes, most obviously, on sexuality. This no-sex-we’re-British approach when homosexuality is, or should be, a major aspect of a film was also practiced in another British film I recently saw, Pride (a great story, an extremely mediocre film). And in the case of TIG it’s all the more frustrating because it feels that what it does is the artistic equivalent to the chemical treatment Turing was forced to go through. By showing him as a sexless eunuch, whose only meaningful, lasting relationship as an adult is a rom com like one he’s having with a girl, by avoiding showing him clubbing or - God forbids - cottaging, by deliberately and calculatedly allowing the only male on male intimacy shown on screen to be an extremely innocent looking one between two boys (who, in real life were between the ages of 16 and 19, but in this film made to look much younger, hence allowing the willing audience to assume there was no real, you know, hanky panky) – by doing it this film castrates Turing all over again.

dws1982
Tenured
Posts: 3115
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 9:28 pm
Location: AL
Contact:

Re: The Imitation Game reviews

Postby dws1982 » Sat Jan 10, 2015 12:18 pm

Poorly-defined and indistinguishable supporting characters. Pointless revisions of history (There's zero evidence that Turing and the Russian mole ever even met, he never worked with the Mark Strong character at Bletchley, and so on). Never really has any insight into the cryptoanalysis and technology used in breaking Enigma. The big Eureka moment doesn't make sense: Any type of code-breaking is based around starting with what you already know is there and can be decoded and then working your way out from there. (Think the way the much simpler code was broken in Zodiac.) Why does Turing and his team--the best in the UK, we're told--take so long to figure out they might need to take this approach? And shouldn't the machine be constructed around this anyway? (Or maybe it was, and the screenplay just didn't make that clear.) Even if the gay aspect were totally ignored (which it can't be, in this case) there's so much interesting stuff they could deal with in their depiction of England at war. Overall it's well-acted (although if Damien were around, I think he would call the Cumberbatch performance "mannered") and decently-mounted, but I honestly preferred The Theory of Everything.

Reza
Tenured Laureate
Posts: 8438
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2003 11:14 am
Location: Islamabad, Pakistan

Re: The Imitation Game reviews

Postby Reza » Sat Jan 10, 2015 1:45 am

It's an old fashioned, well made film with good performances. No more and no less but yes, most certainly better than The Theory of Everything.

Uri
Adjunct
Posts: 1168
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 11:37 pm
Location: Israel

Re: The Imitation Game reviews

Postby Uri » Fri Jan 09, 2015 12:39 pm

Well – it’s better than The Theory of Everything. It’s was not an unpleasant film – I found myself enjoying it for some kind of nostalgia it evoked in me – not to the period it portrayed or the old fashioned style of movie making it certainly emulates, but to a certain kind of very English literature I was rather fond of as a child. This is Enyd Blyton’s The Cracking of the Code by the Secret Five (or six or seven – how many were they?) Here there’s a scent of - not unlikable - juvenile take on history, science, technology and, yes, most obviously, on sexuality.

Big Magilla
Site Admin
Posts: 16211
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 3:22 pm
Location: Jersey Shore

Re: The Imitation Game reviews

Postby Big Magilla » Sun Jan 04, 2015 12:25 pm

I missed that. I didn't even know there was a TV series based on 10 Things I hate About You.

The Original BJ
Emeritus
Posts: 4312
Joined: Mon Apr 28, 2003 8:49 pm

Re: The Imitation Game reviews

Postby The Original BJ » Sun Jan 04, 2015 4:27 am

Big Magilla wrote:Having just watched the BBC version of Hugh Whitemore's play, Breaking the Codeon YouTube, I have to agree with Sonic that the accomplished Whitemore (77 credits on IMDb. numerous Emmy and BAFTA nominations and wins) gave us a better take on Alan Turing's life than The Imitation Game with its screenplay by Graham Moore whose only previous film was Ten Tings I Hate About You.


Actually, Moore was a writer on the TV show 10 Things I Hate About You.

And he's going to win the Oscar for his first produced screenplay, lucky guy.

ITALIANO
Emeritus
Posts: 4076
Joined: Mon Jan 06, 2003 1:58 pm
Location: MILAN
Contact:

Re: The Imitation Game reviews

Postby ITALIANO » Sun Jan 04, 2015 4:09 am

Big Magilla wrote: Many, including Turning's mother, believed that his death was an accident,


Mothers always say so.

Big Magilla
Site Admin
Posts: 16211
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 3:22 pm
Location: Jersey Shore

Re: The Imitation Game reviews

Postby Big Magilla » Sat Jan 03, 2015 11:27 pm

Having just watched the BBC version of Hugh Whitemore's play, Breaking the Codeon YouTube, I have to agree with Sonic that the accomplished Whitemore (77 credits on IMDb. numerous Emmy and BAFTA nominations and wins) gave us a better take on Alan Turing's life than The Imitation Game with its screenplay by Graham Moore whose only previous film was Ten Tings I Hate About You.

Both are adapted from Andrew Hodges' 500 page biography of Turing, but take different approaches. The emphasis in Breaking the Code is on the Turing's homosexuality and his persecution because of it. The emphasis in The Imitation Game is on his work at Bletchley Park.

My one quibble with the BBC production is that in teh scene depicting the aftermath of Turing's death shows cyanide on the half-eaten apple on his bedside table. The apple was never tested. Many, including Turning's mother, believed that his death was an accident, the cyanide poisoning having come from his breathing fumes from the chemicals he used in his work rather than from ingesting it.

As for The Imitation Game itself, I find it a decent filler for the lower half of a top ten list in a less than stellar year. Since there will likely be 7-10 Oscar nominees, it will probably be one of them. A win, however, would be a bit much.

Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley are fine as also-rans in the acting categories and the film deserves consideration in cinematography, editing, musical score, costume design and sound. I'm on the fence about Adapted Screenplay. What's there is good, but it could have been much better given the source material.

Big Magilla
Site Admin
Posts: 16211
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 3:22 pm
Location: Jersey Shore

Re: The Imitation Game reviews

Postby Big Magilla » Sat Jan 03, 2015 1:49 am

I don't think I've ever been bothered by what they leave out of movies, but I've often been bothered by what they put in that is obviously made up. I don't mean fictional characters inserted into historical epics, but things like :

Braveheart which ends with William Wallace having impregnated Edward II's Queen Isabella and thus been the true father of Edward III when in real life Wallace and Isabella (Isabelle in the film) had never met.

A Beautiful Mind in which Ed Harris' imaginary character is presented as real throughout most of the film because that's the way Russell Crowe's schizophrenic John Nash sees him. Then there's Nash's acceptance speech when he wins the Nobel Prize when as everyone knows Nobel recipients don't make acceptance speeches.

Understandable given the era in which it was made, but Florenz Ziegfeld was never married to Anna Held so it was not necessary for him to divorce her in order to marry Billie Burke in The Great Ziegfeld. Also, Burke was not by his side when he died. She was in Hollywood filming A Bill of Divorcement.

I used to be bothered by movies in which popular songs were sung in period films before they were actually published or movies that characters go to see are shown before they were actually released. The most egregious example of this was Camille being shown at Radio City Music Hall in 1933 in John Huston's 1982 version of Annie when the film wasn't made until 1936 and wasn't released until 1937, besides which it played the Capitol, not the Music Hall. Besides, it wasn't a film you'd likely take kids to see. In 1933 they were more apt to have gone to the Music Hall to see King Kong.

User avatar
Sonic Youth
Laureate
Posts: 7443
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 8:35 pm
Location: USA

Re: The Imitation Game reviews

Postby Sonic Youth » Fri Jan 02, 2015 7:01 pm

Big Magilla wrote:
Sometimes you just have to relax and enjoy a film for what it is than what you would like it to be.



Not true, not if what the film is is a wasted opportunity.

you shouldn't hate it just because it isn't the film you would have made from the source material.


I hated it because of what the filmmakers made from the source material, not what I would have made of it. That counterargument is just as old. And the examples you used are from fictional sources. Alan Turing and Enigma is history and the possibilities that one could make of the material are limitless. And its portrayal of Turing's homosexuality is not the only "safe" thing about it.
"What the hell?"
Win Butler

Big Magilla
Site Admin
Posts: 16211
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 3:22 pm
Location: Jersey Shore

Re: The Imitation Game reviews

Postby Big Magilla » Fri Jan 02, 2015 5:10 pm

ITALIANO wrote:
Big Magilla wrote: You don't have to like it, but you shouldn't hate it just because it isn't the film you would have made from the source material.


I don't hate it - I said it's watchable. But can't I explain why I didnt love it?

I didn't mean "you" specifically. I meant "you" in general.

ITALIANO
Emeritus
Posts: 4076
Joined: Mon Jan 06, 2003 1:58 pm
Location: MILAN
Contact:

Re: The Imitation Game reviews

Postby ITALIANO » Fri Jan 02, 2015 4:34 pm

Big Magilla wrote: You don't have to like it, but you shouldn't hate it just because it isn't the film you would have made from the source material.


I don't hate it - I said it's watchable. But can't I explain why I didnt love it?

Big Magilla
Site Admin
Posts: 16211
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 3:22 pm
Location: Jersey Shore

Re: The Imitation Game reviews

Postby Big Magilla » Fri Jan 02, 2015 3:30 pm

This argument is as old as the movies.

"It wasn't the book."

"It wasn't the whole story."

"it wasn't the true story."

The critics have spoken, The best films of the year were Boyhood, Birdman and The Grand Budapest Hotel, all of which offered something new and exciting. The best foreign film was the more traditional Ida which has the look and feel of a film made in 1961, the year it takes place. There's a little something for everyone in those four films. If the Academy wants to go along with the critics, they will get no argument from me or probably anyone else. If they prefer to go with a more traditional film that doesn't rock the boat there will time for throwing stones when they do. In the meantime, I see no harm in nominating a middle-of-the-road film or two that doesn't rock the boat.

Everything old is new again. Italiano mentions William Dieterle and Mervyn Leroy, two fastidious filmmakers who worked mostly within the restrictions of the Hollywood Production Code, yet even beyond that era made films that remained largely antiseptic and genteel. Dieterle, who directed Dr. Ehrlich's Magic Bullet in which Edward G. Robinson spends his life searching for a cure for syphilis, would have been right at home directing The Imitation Game. Leroy, who directed Madame Curie in which Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon spend more time on their marriage than on their scientific accomplishments, would have been right at home directing The Theory of Everything.

Sometimes you just have to relax and enjoy a film for what it is than what you would like it to be.

Would The Grapes of Wrath have been better if Zanuck had left Ford's ending alone or allowed him to cast Beulah Bondi instead of Jane Darwell? Perhaps, but it was pretty damn good as it was.

Would The Magnificent Ambersons have been better if RKO had released Orson Welles' original cut instead of the edited version completed by Robert Wise? Probably, but then we wouldn't have gotten Agnes Moorehead's radiant smile at the end.

As the saying goes, it's just a movie. You don't have to like it, but you shouldn't hate it just because it isn't the film you would have made from the source material.

User avatar
Sonic Youth
Laureate
Posts: 7443
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 8:35 pm
Location: USA

Re: The Imitation Game reviews

Postby Sonic Youth » Fri Jan 02, 2015 2:27 pm

FWIW, the play "Breaking the Code" spent nearly half of Act I focused on a one night stand Turing had with a much younger male prostitute, which eventually led to Turing's arrest. There was also a very poignant scene between him and a Greek man - neither one knows the other's language - sharing an onstage kiss. Sex and longing and desire is very much an element of Hugh Whitemore's play.
"What the hell?"

Win Butler

ITALIANO
Emeritus
Posts: 4076
Joined: Mon Jan 06, 2003 1:58 pm
Location: MILAN
Contact:

Re: The Imitation Game reviews

Postby ITALIANO » Fri Jan 02, 2015 7:55 am

Precious Doll wrote:
They may as well have left put any mention of homosexuality in this as it's only use was as a plot device.


I think it's even worse - more hypocritical, I mean - they couldn't ignore it because it was a fact, and played a role in the character's life and death, but they use it, conveniently AND commercially, only to draw tears - and pity - from the audience, yet they are very careful not to show it, so that that same (possibly conservative) audience wouldn't be annoyed or unconfortable.


Return to “2014”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest