Monday, December 15, 2014
The Imitation Game 
ChicagoTribune (M. Phillips) review
RogerEbert.com (S. Wloszczyna) review
AVClub (M. D'Angelo) review
The Imitation Game  (directed by Morton Tydlum, screenplay by Graham Moore based on the book by Andrew Hodges [IMDb]) tells the story (in very rough outline it turns out) of smart, socially-challenged oddball (and gay) Alan Turing who improving on similar machines already designed and constructed by Polish intelligence services in the 1930s, designed and supervised the construction of the proto-computer (that he nicknamed "Christopher") that definitively broke Nazi Germany's all-but unbreakable Enigma code during WW II that helped the Allies win the war.
Turing's story plays out in this film in three stages of his life: in the 1920s when he when he was a teenager at a British all-boys boarding school, during the war years 1940-1945 when he was first part of and then allowed (very, very reluctantly by his bosses much less bright than he and his colleagues ever were) to lead the U.K.'s Bletchley Park Enigma code-breaking unit (code-named ULTRA) and then in the early 1950s after he was arrested for a (homosexual) morals charge. As a teenager, he is played by Alex Lawther, as an adult, engagingly and magnificently throughout by Benedict Cumberpatch (Cumberpatch is almost certainly going to get an academy Award Nomination for his performance in this film and despite some other excellent performances by other actors in other films this year, I'd hand him the Oscar now).
As could be imagined from the hints already given above, this is a fairly challenging story to put on screen. First of all, Turing was an interesting character -- brilliant but perhaps almost necessarily odd. Second, while his role in breaking the Enigma code was certainly significant, the film really plays the Polish contributions the code's breaking with almost categorical racist (WASP in the worst possible way) disrespect. And yet, after the war, BECAUSE HOMOSEXUALITY WAS STILL A CRIME IN BRITAIN, Turing, without a doubt A LEGITIMATE WAR HERO (if only the public and EVEN CIVIL AUTHORITIES of the time would have / could have known) was DESTROYED for not fitting the heterosexual norm: Given a choice of PRISON or "hormonal therapy" (for A BLOW JOB ...) he chose the latter so that he could continue his work in the then still infant science of computer engineering. In 1954, he died as a result of (probably) committing suicide...
The film's thematics, IMHO are excellent: Can we accept diversity AS A GIFT? It did take someone who was "odd" (and not just that he was gay, even today, he'd probably be considered "socially challenged" / "odd") to do something next to unimaginable. Yet, I do wish this was done in a manner that did give DUE CREDIT to the Poles (who are AS WHITE AS CAN BE and yet _still_ considered by more "Anglo" / "Aryan" whites to be SOMEHOW NECESSARILY "LESS" than they ...).
Sigh ... _excellent film_ otherwise, but 1 1/2 to 2 Stars ... (and I do think I'm being kind here on account of its _otherwise excellent message_).
<< NOTE - Do you like what you've been reading here? If you do then consider giving a small donation to this Blog (sugg. $6 _non-recurring_) _every so often_ to continue/further its operation. To donate just CLICK HERE. Thank you! :-) >>