Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Film Review: The Imitation Game (2014)

Copyright: The Weinstein Company
Alan Turing had it rough, but it was all kind of worth it. This is, in a nutshell, the idea that I got from the film The Imitation Game. This story about the king of computer geniuses of the first half of the 20th century is very polished and the cherry on its top is Benedict Cumberbatch, who is a great actor and the next gigantic crush for all those boys and girls who really loved Ryan Gosling before he became really popular.

Yes, everything is here and all it very compacted and easily digestible, but somehow, for me, something was very lacking and very off in this film. Its director, Morten Tyldum, had a similar effect on me with his previously best-known film Hodejegerne. In it, just like in The Imitation Game movie, I have a feeling that Tyldum strives for bedazzlement and charm, all in a desperate attempt to leave the audience without too many questions, mainly, what did we really learn about its main characters?

Here, the same problem arises. What drives Alan Turing and why is practically everyone his enemy or at best, passing annoyance? The film provides two parallel vectors that never merge into a single human being: one side of Turing cares only for his machine that can decipher the Enigma code, while the other side is forever haunted by his personality that is simply unwelcome in that time and place (primarily his sexual orientation).

Here, the film backs off, not allowing Cumberbatch to make a choice as Turing. He is neither fine with who he is nor is he tormented by it. He is calculated and even cruel in his worldview, but offers a soft human side on practically every corner. He desires to make beautiful computers that can become aware one day, but he also desires to find boyfriends in the local pub. He is everything that the real Turing was supposed to be, but nothing of this truly defines him, mainly because the film doesn’t show him sacrificing anything willingly. Things and people just fall out of his life, but he marches on, even when his supposed life purpose is completed.

A lot of Tyldum’s careful constructed facade that plasters the inherent emptiness and gutlessness of the film is seen in its soundtrack. At some moments, it is sad, while other times it is cheerful, but throughout the film, it remains very whimsical, as if it seeped from a blockbuster film like Gravity, where the music is used to underline the pacing of the action for those who have trouble concentrating on it while they make out, eat popcorn or use their smartphones.

I don’t know much about what kind of man Alan Turing was, but I am also certain that I learned or felt nothing more about him after I watched The Imitation Game.

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