Monday, 17 November 2014

You're supposed to be helping us!

The Imitation Game (2014)

There's frequently a problem with these kind of films. It tries to craft a thriller out of something that doesn't really want to be thrilling. The conflict of solving mathematical puzzles is not exactly cinematic (certainly not in the hands of this director) so it puts up contrived, mechanical barriers. The scientists vs. Military through line that emerges may well have been a factor in real life (though it seems unlikely) but nothing about it rings true here. 
The more interesting conflict is within Turing's own head and the film stumbles here too.
His being gay is a big part of who he was. His mental thought processes too. The film does to it's credit not shy away from saying he was homosexual (though even that reveal is dealt with in the most ham fisted way possible) and even tries to tie that into the way he worked. But it still does not allow him to be gay on screen. We hear someone tells us after the fact he paid money to have sex with a man but it's still at a remove which does not benefit Turing.
There is a much more interesting story here about a man who did fine work for his country at a time when what he was was outlawed and is then treated shamefully by his government to the point he takes his own life. that act too is not shown on screen, a simplistic caption having to carry the weight.
Instead it mostly treads water as a redo of the Robert Harris Enigma novel and film adaptation which at least gave license to it's thriller elements by being far more fictionalised. 
Cumberbatch is fine in the role, allowing sympathy for a sometimes deeply unpleasant man.
Knightley's mannered, Joan Greenwood knock-off performance is better suited here than in the recent Say When, which I looked at last week, but is still a dry, dull presence.

No comments:

Post a Comment