I’m not going to try and tell you that ‘The Imitation Game’ is any kind of groundbreaking cinema. It’s an adequately told story, generic in many parts (as far as the storytelling aspects are concerned) and it carries with it many tropes that the genre (historical biopic) tends to become roped into. Still, this is a prime example of a story propelling the film forward, drawing you in with so much development. Unlike the other ‘British biopic’ of the year, ‘The Theory of Everything’, ‘The Imitation Game’ is so rich in character development that it feels like a much more complete film, even if the score isn’t as rousing and the editing isn’t as sharp and the cinematography isn’t as lavish.
If this story had those technical embellishments, the film may have been perfect.
I have to admit that I wasn’t expecting a whole lot here, and maybe that’s why I was kind of blown away with how much I connected to this, but the bottom line is that the film, despite a strong critical response and obvious Oscar attention, has its fair share of detractors; and they are loud. Apparently many people view the film as a missed opportunity, a film that skirts around more important issues and tries to make Turing’s tragic (and heroic) tale into some sort of ‘sappy Hollywood message film’. There were countless complaints that the film didn’t focus on Turing’s sexuality enough, that it sidelined the most politically important aspect of his story, and yet to those complaints I genuinely ask…did you watch the movie?
Seriously, did you watch it?
I’m not going to say that the film was two hours of debating the atrocity that was Turning’s treatment (and the treatment of all homosexuals) during and after the war, but the balance that Moore’s screenplay strikes between what Turning did for his country (and the world) and what his country (and the world) did to him is really well developed.
Sorry, haters can attack me all they want, but I’m serious.
It doesn’t nail everything (I found the relationship between Joan and Alan to be underdeveloped), but the important things are addressed with unexpected depth and delicacy. The way that the film jumps from Turing’s arrest to his classified work and then pack again helps establish the development of his character all the way around. Unlike the development (or lack thereof) of Hawking in ‘The Theory of Everything’, I felt like I knew Turning when ‘The Imitation Game’ closed. I felt him in my soul. A lot of that is due to the fact that Benedict Cumberbatch is so IN THIS, always working to uncover more and more of this man, and the way his eyes betray his self-loathing and internal depression is so heartbreaking; but really the reason we know Turning is because Moore understood this man and knew how to develop him on the page, which translated beautifully onto the screen.
Turing’s life was inspiring, heartbreaking but inspiring, and as a society we can learn from what he accomplished and also from what he went through. Forsaken by the people he helped save, the lives he helped preserve, the country he aided to victory, Turing’s life story serves as a lesson to us all about humanity and how even our heroes can become condemned because of a lack of it.