The Imitation Game: See it if you can (And Keira Knightly is a bit of a dud)

I saw The Imitation Game last night and enjoyed it very much. Engaging and really well paced. Go see it if you can.

Keira Knightley was a disappointment. Her fate is a little like Helena Bonham Carter’s. Spectacular looking Young Thing HBC ended up parlaying her prim young ingénue routine in Lady Jane Grey and A Room with a View into prim older thing as the Queen Mum in The King’s Speech and endless baddies and weirdos all played in a similar way – for instance as Mrs Havisham in Great Expectations. As far as I could see she played pretty much the same character in Harry Potter and Les Miserables.

Keira’s problem is similar but somewhat different. She isn’t typecast by casting agents. She gets lots of different roles requiring a much wider range. But her most distinguishing physical feature, a certain aspect of her mouth and cheeks now seems to dominate everything she does like Louis Vuitton logos on Louis Vuitton luggage. She wasn’t much chop in this movie.

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I am and will always be Not Trampis
I am and will always be Not Trampis
6 years ago

Yeah,
I reviewed this on my blog and liked it despite the inaccuracies.
Keira will never do a better film that Bend it like Beckham

conrad
conrad
6 years ago

Coincidentally, I saw it last night and I thought it was really good also. Out of interest, here is an interview with some of the real people, including Joan Clarke: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MB2e9R7bXCk .

Tyler
Tyler
6 years ago

Seemed pretty formulaic to me, nothing really stood out and it’s difficult to build any genuine tension when we know how it’s going to end (even if we don’t know the details of the Enigma codebreakers).

Go watch Birdman instead! :p

paul walter
paul walter
6 years ago

As long as there is humanity, there will be bimbos.

ChrisB
6 years ago

“Inccuracies” suggests that there are in fact some things about the movie that are correct.
(spoilers spoilers)
The distortions are all in the service of showing Turing as a superman, a saviour who has to do it all by himself with no help at all from any mere mortals.

For example, at the end the film talks of how a handful of codebreakers defeated the Germans and shortened the war, when

1) Bletchley was about 7,000 strong by the end,

2) Breaking code never defeated anybody (the Poles had done it, after all; didn’t help them much)

3) The war would have ended roughly on the day it did whatever had happened before that, only it would have ended with an A-Bomb on Berlin rather than one on Hiroshima.

The most irritating thing, for me, because of its implausibility within the movie, was the business with Turing getting 100,000 quid from Churchill to build a computer. Utterly impossible. Once they had cracked the code and built a computer – collectively, not as a magic wand trick by Turing – Turing wrote to Churchill to get more funding for Bletchley, and was successful; but that was after it had been shown that the thing worked. The movie – and how well I know this mindset – demanded that there be a pivotal scene – one scene, not two or three – where

1) the machine worked,

2) the code was cracked, and

3) everyone admits Turing was right –

and that’s impossible; until the code was cracked, you couldn’t justify a machine.

Again, in the film the machine’s breakthrough comes when a girl in the pub tells Turing that the Germans are sometimes less than rigorous in their procedures; when in fact that was exactly how the Poles broke it, and how the early codebreakers broke it, and how (see above) the codebreakers justified their call for a machine to speed it up.

Other than pedantry, why does this matter? Because it fuels the Great Man/superhero delusion, where one person can make a critical difference and you don’t need millions of soldiers to fight and die. When, in fact, you often do.

For an extended version of this kind of rant, see
http://www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/2014/dec/19/poor-imitation-alan-turing/

steve from brisbane
6 years ago

Yes. Based on two reviews (the one ChrisB linked to, and this one from The Guardian: http://tinyurl.com/mrugz54
I resolved not to see the film despite its good reviews, due to its “let’s make history better” approach just pushing things too far for my liking.
The Guardian review takes particular affront at the invented blackmailing of Turing by Cairncross – calling it an insult to the real Turing. I find that hard to disagree with.
While a case can be made for some liberties in films being true to the spirit of the story, other liberties are clearly not. (I felt, for example, that the Anthony Hopkins version of Shadowlands was an absolute shocker, right from the opening scene which pretended that middle aged women would think CS Lewis was quite swoon-worthy.)
It seems to me that the amount of invention in this film is just too much to tolerate, so I decided to punish its makers by withholding my $4 contribution to its profit (or whatever the proportion of my ticket price goes to them.)
If only the world will follow my guidelines as to what films they can and cannot see, it could help stamp out this problem with falsifying history. (And too many superhero films, too) :)