Monday, January 5, 2015
The Imitation Game (a movie review post)
That said, Benedict Cumberbatch was incredible. He is really setting himself up as the go-to guy for any anti-social genius type of character. It would be unfortunate if he ends up being typecast as that guy and never gets any other kind of role, though, as good as he is at it. I think I may be becoming convinced he's more than just that.
It's actually very interesting what Cumberbatch did with the part. He started out with a kind of Sherlock level of human interaction and descended into a kind of Frankenstein's monster thing like he did in the National Theatre Live presentation of Frankenstein. It's too bad Alan Turing wasn't actually like that. Eccentric, yes, but he wasn't unfriendly and without the ability to operate in a social setting as the movie showed him to be.
Keira Knightley was also quite good. Well, she was mostly what you'd expect of Keira Knightley, but it was good. She was a good foil to Cumberbatch's portrayal of Turing, which is to say that her character was not quite accurate, either. Joan Clarke was probably quite a bit more socially awkward than she was in the movie but, then, in the movie, it's Joan who mediates between Turing and his team and enables him to work with them, so she had to be socially savvy for that work.
The other actors I really liked were Mark Strong and Matthew Goode. Strong played Stewart Menzies, a person that Turing probably never actually had any contact with, but he was a great movie character and added a bit of a spy edge to everything. Goode played Hugh Alexander, a chess champion who was on Turing's team. Even while I was watching the movie I didn't buy that Alexander was really as charismatic and charming as Goode played him to be, but he was fun to watch in the role.
Of course, the most interesting thing about the movie to me is not the movie at all; it's that the British government kept all of this secret, everything that Turing did during WWII, stuff which helped to end the war, for 50 years. 50 years! And, then, what they allowed to happen to him after the war was just... horrendous. And he was only posthumously pardoned in 2013. It's kind of unbelievable.
The main thing is, though, if you like those little electronic gadgets that you carry around everywhere and use all the time, you have Turing to thank for them. It was what he did during the war that lead to computers. Thinking machines were his thing. In fact, computers were originally called Turing machines.
Basically, I'd say to see the movie; it's worth it for Cumberbatch's performance alone, accurate or not. He might even deserve the best actor Oscar for it, though I haven't decided that for sure, yet. However, once you've seen it, check up on your Turing facts. It's all really quite fascinating.