The Imitation Game (2014) Review

IMG_8762

The Imitation Game (2014)

Directed by Morten Tyldum

Starring:
Benedict Cumberbatch
Keira Knightley
Matthew Goode
Rory Kinnear
Charles Dance
Mark Strong

Running time: 114 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The Imitation Game is based on the biography Alan Turing: The Enigma by Andrew Hodges. The film stars Benedict Cumberbatch as the British cryptanalyst Alan Turing, who helped solve the Enigma code during the Second World War and was later prosecuted for his homosexuality.

IMG_8764

My Opinion:

Okay, then – I’ve watched another Oscar nominee for Best Picture. I’ll say right away that these “historical drama” types of films aren’t really my thing. But, unlike American Sniper or The Grand Budapest Hotel (screw those!), I still had an interest in watching this one. I knew next to nothing about Alan Turing or his code-breaking or WWII (seriously – I hate history) before watching this film. Actually, I still don’t know much about WWII… Vietnam movies are usually better. Better soundtracks, too.

IMG_8763

Anyway! I had no idea that Alan Turing really received no recognition for his accomplishments in helping to win WWII & that everything had been kept a secret for so many years afterwards. I knew about his homosexuality & horrible punishment but didn’t realize JUST how appallingly he was treated. So that’s the thanks he got after all he did?! Seriously – he should have told everyone to go f*#k themselves! Well, I guess it’s good he didn’t.

IMG_8768

This movie is good but I don’t think it’s great. I can’t see it winning Best Picture. I’d heard that they really glossed over the homosexuality & chemical castration thing but that’s not true at all – they did touch on it plenty. In a way, though, I find that the more interesting story so would have liked even more exploration of that. However, I understand why the main focus was more on the breaking of the Enigma code and I suppose that IS really interesting but I can barely even do a simple crossword puzzle or add two numbers together without a calculator so a lot of that was lost on me. I found the story of Alan Turing himself more fascinating than the machine he created and I don’t think the movie quite did enough to show us his life outside of the time he spent trying to break the Enigma code, other than showing us a little bit of one important relationship early in his life. I don’t know – maybe not a lot is known? Like I said, I don’t really know anything about him beyond what I just saw in this film.

IMG_8765

As for the performances, Benedict Cumberbatch is very good. I think he does a good job making a very awkward and almost unlikable character sympathetic, especially in the later parts of the film. I think there’s too much competition in the Best Actor category this year so it’s unlikely he’ll win but it’s a well deserved nomination. Keira Knightley is good, I guess, at once again being Keira Knightley. Yeah, I don’t like her or her style of acting so I’m probably being unfair. She’s just always “Keira Knightley” to me in every role she’s in. She won’t win an Oscar for this but she’s fine playing the “pretty smart girl”. Oh! Tywin Lannister is in this! And the creepy uncle from Stoker. And the guy who was quite good in Kingsman: The Secret Service & reminds me of Stanley Tucci. Oh yeah – and a guy from the first episode of Black Mirror that has scarred me for life to the point that I’d really rather never see the guy in anything ever again! They’re all decent enough but Cumberbatch is by far the best thing about the movie.

IMG_8766-0

Summary:

The Imitation Game tells two fascinating stories: the solving of the Enigma code during WWII as well as the persecution of homosexuals in England’s history. It doesn’t really get as in-depth with either of these stories as it could, though, so it’s probably worth reading about Alan Turing if you want to know more than what you’ll find out from this movie. I don’t feel like I know that much more than I did before watching this but it’s a great story that needed to be told many years ago and, from a film fan’s perspective, it’s worth watching for Benedict Cumberbatch’s performance.

My Rating: 7/10

IMG_8767

Advertisements

Stoker (2013) Review

20130824-113513 PM.jpg
Stoker

Directed by Park Chan-wook

Produced by:
Ridley Scott
Tony Scott
Michael Costigan

Written by Wentworth Miller

Starring:
Mia Wasikowska
Matthew Goode
Nicole Kidman
Dermot Mulroney
Jacki Weaver

Music by Clint Mansell

Running time: 99 minutes

Plot Synopsis:

India Stoker’s beloved father dies in a car accident on her 18th birthday. Soon after, the mysterious Uncle Charlie comes to stay with India and her cold & distant mother. India never even knew her father had a brother and she starts to suspect that Uncle Charlie may not be all he seems.

20130824-113757 PM.jpg
My Opinion:

First of all, thanks to everyone for voting when I asked which film I should review next. Stoker was the winner.

I think it’s pretty well known that the inspiration for Stoker was Alfred Hitchcock’s Shadow Of A Doubt. Being a pretty big Hitchcock fan and having just watched that one this year (review HERE), I can certainly see how similar the films are and how much Wentworth Miller clearly must love Shadow Of A Doubt. As to be expected, though, it’s not as good as Hitchcock’s film.

20130824-114347 PM.jpg
I missed Stoker when it was in cinemas and I was so mad because it looked interesting & I really wanted to see it. But as it wasn’t Fast & Furious 23 or some shit like that, it was only on for one week at my local cinema. So, anyway, after fellow movie geeks seemed to love it despite some not so great reviews I think I had probably hyped it up too much in my mind & that may be why I was a little disappointed with the film.

20130824-114510 PM.jpg
I’ve never seen Park Chan-wook’s Oldboy and had wanted to do this review along with that one but just haven’t had time to watch it. I’m assuming it’s a better film with all the best bits of Stoker, like some great visuals and all that director-y stuff that I know nothing about, but with a better story. Stoker looked great & it had this wonderful creepy atmosphere that I really liked. But the overall story wasn’t all that shocking or original and, with a different director, I think it would be a very forgettable film.

20130824-114606 PM.jpg
I also think everyone did fine in their roles but no one really blew me away.
Mia Wasikowska was fine but I think plenty of other actresses could have played the role too. Matthew Goode has this insane look going on in his eyes so I think he was right for the role but, again, I think there are others who could have played Uncle Charlie and I can’t help but say that Joseph Cotten was a creepier Uncle Charlie in Shadow Of A Doubt. At least the character of India in Stoker has much more depth than Hitchcock’s Charlie, niece of the uncle with the same name. Nicole Kidman is also fine but she always is – I didn’t really feel like we were seeing anything new from her here.

20130824-114755 PM.jpg
Overall I just found the story too predictable. It was too much “style over substance” for me. I don’t think it was bad but, if you’re going to make a film so clearly inspired by Hitchcock, I think you need to do a better job on the suspense in the film. You’re not going to top the Master in that regard but there are other films that have achieved a growing sense of anxiousness more than Stoker does, which never exactly had me on the edge of my seat.

20130824-114904 PM.jpg
Summary:

Stoker is a very atmospheric film that is lovely to look at and one I’m sure that people who know anything about filmmaking would probably appreciate. In the hands of a less talented director (and without a certain shower scene), I think it would be a very forgettable film. It’s a good Hitchcock-inspired mystery but just can’t match his brilliantly suspenseful storytelling. But who can? Although it sounds like I almost hated Stoker, I did actually enjoy it. It’s a solid effort & I appreciate the attempt to make something other than the same old tired mainstream movie in this world full of horrible sequels, remakes, and “Ow, my balls!” comedies. Stoker is worth a watch for film fans but I would hope that everyone will have already seen Hitchcock’s biggest classics first to see the true master of suspense at work.

My Rating: 6.5/10

20130824-114930 PM.jpg
And I’m on a Movie Haiku kick again so here’s one for Stoker. Warning if you’ve not seen it – SLIGHT SPOILER:

Strange Uncle Charlie
Masturbating in shower
Hitchcock this is not

Which leads me to two of my lists on which Stoker probably now at least deserves an honorable mention. 😉

My Top Ten Shower & Bath Scenes In Movies

My Top Five Movie Scenes Of Self-Pleasure