The Imitation Game

Saw The Imitation Game today as part of my yearly pilgrimage to see all the Oscar Nominees. Here’s some quick thoughts about the movie…

First of all, almost nobody can do wrong by me by brining the story of Alan Turing to the world. He is one of the true hero’s in my book. Here is the man who pretty much single-handedly won WW2 for us and kickstarted the computer sciences. The sad part of his story was that he had to keep his work secret even by the time he died so to him, nobody knew what he did. The sadder part is that he killed himself, most likely because he was shameful over the fact that his homosexuality was exposed.

So, I’m super happy that a story highlighting Alan Turing was told, and also happy that was done very well by Benedict Cumberbatch. But what I’m not happy with was the many historical inaccuracies in the movie. As well as the many strange plot devices. For example, at one point Turing in the movie is being held up from working on things by his commander at the base so he writes a letter to his commander who is Winston Churchill and even though we know nothing of the contents of the letter, in the next scene Turing is now in charge. I mean, what the hell just happened? Why is this plausible? It’s not, it’s a plot device and it’s dumb. And it has no place in a movie up for best picture.

So what other things didn’t I like? For one, there was an incredible obvious use of exposition. In one case we see a scene explaining the Enigma device that is painfully stupid and implausible but then, not 10 seconds later we hear in an overdub voice the entire explanation rehashed. Why?

And for a movie about a technical subject like codebreaking there is little or no technical things happening at all.

I also didn’t like the ‘disney’ moments. There is one cliche scene where Turing is about to be fired and his machine (the bombe, although never mentioned by name in the film) destroyed. In the last second, just as things seem to be about to go to a point of no return, one of his co-workers (who the movie spent so much time showing us that he didn’t like Turing since turing was gruff, but all of a sudden decided out of the blue that Turing was indeed right!) comes out from nowhere and says “If you fire Turing, you will have to deal with me leaving!” and then another says “and I as well!”. It was a scene you’ve seen in a dozen films before. What makes it worse is that this never even came close to happening in real life. The real story is completely different. In short, he was never about to be fired and his team always liked him.

Bleh. This was a shitty movie. I’m sorry. The only reason it got nominated was that the Weinsteins produced it and you know they know how to lobby the academy.

Whiplash Review

Ugh. How was this movie nominated for best picture? I found it entertaining but I also found a lot of faults with it. I don’t know the director well so I don’t know if he/she has directed before but I’m going to guess that they never directed a feature before. There were a few things that a good director wouldn’t have let happen. For example, the usage of extras was really poorly done. I cite for you the pizza shop scene where I got majorly distracted by the extras for two reasons : First was that they were all overacting and being obvious but secondly was the aperture/focal length which really kept much of the background action in focus where it really shouldn’t have. Another directory thing that I found annoying was that even though I was supposed to feel like this school in the movie was in NYC it felt like a completely different city. I would venture a guess it wasn’t even shot in New York. If it was, then he somehow made it look like another city entirely.

Then of course was the fact that the protagonist was not consistent in his tone and personality. At first we are led to believe that he’s a nerdy/shy/introverted kid but then about a third of a way into the movie he’s at dinner with some family friends and he’s all of a sudden bold and outgoing and brave. And then he later changes into someone who is just insanely motivated to succeed. Not even being in a car accident and having his car flipped over will stop him from performing. Believable? Um, no. And at said performance he is covered in blood and cuts and yet nobody, not one person questions it.

And then there is the teacher dude. He actually had a consistent personality but what school would allow someone to go unchallenged and unsupervised to the point where he is slapping students and throwing chairs at them? Not one student in the history of this teachers tenure complained to anyone? And then we are to just accept that he puts 3 students up for 5 hours of abuse with no breaks and nobody complains or steps in?

I guess overall the movie to me felt completely unbelievable and that really bugged me a lot. For a first time director/feature, ok. But to have it nominated for best picture and best screenplay? Uh. No.

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