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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Review: The Imitation Game

***WARNING: There will probably be spoilers ahead, so if you don't want to hear anything about this movie, stop reading now.***

I was looking for a movie to watch and did some searching online for what was showing on Netflix or Amazon Prime. Trying to browse through either site is frustrating for me, especially Netflix, so I appreciate that there are websites that list the movies available. It came down to two, one on Netflix and the other on Prime. I chose poorly.

The Imitation Game stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing, a real-life mathematician who helped crack the German's enigma code during World War 2. The website that had the brief summary of each movie on Netflix made it sound like a suspense story and I was like, cool! I knew Turing had had some awful stuff done to him because he was gay and I really didn't want to see anything that grim, but a WW 2 thriller? Bring it on.

The website summary was extremely misguided. It did largely focus on the WW 2 years and breaking the Nazis' enigma machine, but it was not a thriller. Although in defense of this website, IMDB calls it nail-biting. I missed that part. I found it rather plodding, although not unwatchable.

Part of my problem with the film was the fact that I missed the beginning and didn't realize there were flashbacks going on. This left me confused a few times, especially when they were discussing Turing's military service in the past tense. I was like, do they mean World War 1? Was he old enough to have fought in WW 1? Who are these men and why are they asking these questions about Turing? I assume that if I'd seen the start, that I would have known that these scenes "present day" in the film and the WW 2 stuff was flashback.

I'm not sure how accurate the movie was in its portrayal of Turing of anyone else in the movie. I had the impression from the film that he was autistic, but had no clue if he was in real life. I also don't know how historically accurate the other plot points were either: Did he go to Churchill when the man in charge of the project wanted to scrap Turing's machine? Did he become engage briefly to a woman working on the project with him? Was there really a Russian spy on the project who was blackmailing Turing because he was gay? I have no idea. I suppose I could research it--probably it wouldn't take too much to learn the truth--but I don't care enough.

That was basically my problem with the entire movie--I just didn't care. It wasn't a bad movie. I wouldn't have sat through the whole thing if it had been. But at the end--which was as grim as I'd feared--I was meh about the film. I totally wished I'd chosen the other movie. Other reviewers have enjoyed it and it has a decent score at IMDB. My verdict? It's not the worst thing I've ever seen.

Two stars out of five.