Saturday, February 14, 2015

Academy Awards 2015: Best Picture Reviews - The Imitation Game

I was talking to Crafty about how much I love the Oscars. We've been trying to catch up on all the movies and should be able to get the last ones in this week, so I decided instead of doing one big long post about all the movies, I would do one for each Best Picture nominee leading up to the ceremony next Sunday.

The most recent film I saw was The Imitation Game, so I'm going to start with that.

Right now, I'm torn on my personal pick for Best Picture between this and Boyhood, although I still have a few to see. However, this year's Oscar nominees are far and away the best collection of films in the last decade or so. I can't remember an Oscar season with so much quality since the late 1990's, when you had Shakespeare in Love battling against Life is Beautiful, Elizabeth, Saving Private Ryan, and The Thin Red Line. Or the year Titanic won against Good Will Hunting, As Good as it Gets, LA Confidential, and The Full Monty. Lately, even though they've opened the race to 8-10 movies (I think it's supposed to be 10, but they don't always use all the openings, which is weird but whatever), I find that I only end up enjoying a couple. And they've been very focused on including a blockbuster just because - often for it to win when it really doesn't belong in Oscar contention.

Anyway, my film snobbery aside, I loved The Imitation Game. You wouldn't think a biopic could be this engaging, but I literally spent the two hours on the edge of the couch, fully enthralled in it. Of course, the acting is phenomenal across the board. Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley are top actors as it is, and then a supporting cast of Matthew Goode, Allen Leech, Mark Strong, and Charles Dance really adds to the impact (I have to resist the urge not to say the movie stars Sherlock, Elizabeth Bennett, Ozymandias, Tom Branson, Blackwood, and Tywin Lannister!!).

Admittedly this movie was at the top of my must-see list anyway because I have a real fascination with Enigma. I'm not sure what it is about it, but it's always intrigued me. There was a movie a while back starring Kate Winslet about Enigma called Enigma that was likely only as exciting as it was to me to, well, me. A few years ago, I was able to visit the Caen Memorial, where they have an Enigma machine, and I actually got giddy. I am probably the only person in history to fangirl over what's essentially a typewriter, I guess. Either way, I find the subject really exciting, and Alan Turing is such a fascinating figure.

My only complaint about the movie is that I almost wish I didn't know about Alan Turing going into it, because I love the way the film reveals his secrets. His story is heartbreaking really. It's so depressing to see such an important figure in history degraded for something that was no one's business and should never have been discussed. I guess that just tells you how things were in our history, and not too distant history at that, but it makes me angry even now that we destroyed someone who basically changed the world in a way that we could never have imagined. Without Alan Turing, the war may have gone on longer and you wouldn't likely be reading this post. I'm glad that at least Queen Elizabeth II had the sense to pardon him. Obviously it's too little too late, but the principle is still better than nothing.

I highly, highly, highly recommend The Imitation Game! Whether you're already intrigued by Turing or Enigma, or you know nothing about him and that aspect of the war, it's both a historical film that gives us insight into science, sociology, and human nature, as well as a belated thank you to a man who shaped history so significantly.

By the way, here's my picture of the Enigma machine from Caen:

1 comment:

  1. I admittedly stopped reading this review when you said you wished you had not known about Alan Turing, because well as a completely uncultured person I suppose I do not know about him. I think that I will watch this movie and resist looking anything up online until I do. Thanks!