Rapid Review: The Imitation Game (2014)

the imitation game poster

“Advise about keeping secrets: it’s a lot easier if you don’t know them in the first place.”
– Alan Turing

SYNOPSIS: Based on the real life story of legendary cryptanalyst Alan Turing, the film portrays the nail-biting race against time by Turing and his brilliant team of code-breakers at Britain’s top-secret Government Code and Cypher School at Bletchley Park, during the darkest days of World War II. – via IMDB

the imitation game

GRADE 7Finally got around to seeing this, and I must admit that I did enjoy it. I was looking forward to it not only for Cumberbatch (though yes, big draw) but because I have covered Turing and some of his work for my studies, and I find it fascinating. So a movie on the man? To find out more? I was sold. The Imitation Game had a great cast working for it, and I enjoyed what they all brought to the screen. I did not want to throttle Keira Knightley, which was a really weird experience for me. Cumberbatch, obviously, stole the whole show here, and presented Alan Turing in a wonderful manner. He made you laugh, he made you feel sorry for him, and he never lost you along the way. His interactions with Charles Dance were simply too amusing for words. I was happy to see Allen Leech in here, too, and Matthew Goode was more entertaining than I can explain – his character Hugh Alexander definitely did not get along with Turing at all. Watching Turing’s whole team was a treat, from the exasperation, frustration, and finally admiration, the journey is quite a sweet one. Turing’s story is fascinating, and Morten Tyldum did a good job of conveying it to the audience without necessarily losing you along the way, but he certainly brought nothing fresh or new to the table, which was also quite disappointing from time to time. It is very formulaic at times, but that doesn’t necessarily cripple the movie. Sometimes there was also an issue of things happening in a totally nonsensical manner, but we were expected to buy into it because that was how they had to tell the story. I suppose there isn’t really time to flesh it all out perfectly, but occasionally discoveries and actions just felt forced. The Imitation Game obviously focused on WWII and the machine that decoded the Nazi Enigma code, as well as the code-breakers that worked incessantly and fruitlessly on it for so long, but did not necessarily explore more of Turing’s work. Also, do not go into this thinking you are going to get the average war movie, you will be sorely disappointed. This movie is about Turing, his work, and parts of his life. This didn’t thrill me as I was hoping it would, seeing how it has been pretty much universally loved. While not a perfect movie, it is engaging and well presented, and deserves a look, at least once, even if just to get more people familiar with Turing.

Review: Stoker (2013)

stoker poster

“He used to say, sometimes you need to do something bad to stop you from doing something worse.”
– India Stoker

India Stoker (Mia Masikowska) turns eighteen and receives a horrific gift – her father, Richard (Dermot Mulroney), is killed in a violent car accident. Not knowing what to do, she draws into herself even more. She is acutely aware of the senses, and very unhappy when at her father’s wake, his brother, Charlie (Matthew Goode), turns up. Her unstable mother, Evelyn (Nicole Kidman), seems rather taken with his charms and good looks, and it upsets India. However, things get worse when he announces that he is going to be staying with them to look after his brother’s family.

stoker bed and shoes
“Have you outgrown your shoes?” – Mrs McGarrick

Charlie has many tales of travelling the world, and Evelyn seems very engaged with Charlie. India, on the other hand, does not care much for him. Mrs McGarrick (Phyllis Somerville) argues with Charlie, and soon after the head caretaker disappears. Charlie attempts to befriend India, though she coldly turns him away constantly, and is very unhappy with how intimate he and her mother are getting. Something is wrong with Charlie, India is sure of it, but has no idea what. After a dismally short visit from her great aunt Gwendolyn (Jacki Weaver), who is most definitely not Charlie’s biggest fan, India wants to know more about Charlie, but cannot find her.

India is dealing with her own issues at school, as well as the mockery that she has to abide due to her mother’s seeming romance with her deceased father’s brother. It does not make for a good combination, as India is already not an incredibly popular girl. India digs more and more into Charlie’s history, and makes some rather gruesome discoveries about him of her own. India knows more about Charlie than she should, and his slightly weird and psychopathic tendencies, but she says nothing. After a shared ordeal, however, she seems to start to let her guard down around her uncle and becomes closer with him, though she has become more prone to lashing out.

stoker family too close
“Personally speaking I can’t wait to watch life tear you apart.” – Evie Stoker

What will India do with the information that she has on Charlie? Why is he so intent on befriending her? Will India continue to act out to harshly due to the knowledge she bears, or will she find a new way to channel that frustration? Will Charlie and her mother take that final step, and if so, how will India deal with her father’s brother being the new man in her mother’s life?

stoker uncle charlie
“We don’t need to be friends. We’re family.” – India

A 7/10 for Stoker. I am still not one hundred percent sure what it is that I watched with this, but I do know that it kept me watching. Slow paced and definitely odd, it keeps you wondering. It is more the effects and lack of anything sudden that happens that keeps you guessing, and everything looked rather pretty. The dialogue was pretty decent, though I thought Nicole Kidman’s character was really questionable. I mean who jumps for their deceased husband’s brother the moment he walks through the door? Dodgy, I tell you. However, Mia Wasikowska impressed me as India, the introverted and odd girl. The progression of the film was decent, though slow as I have said, but not really dull in any places, or any particular feeling of wanting to hurry it up. You get lulled into the story. I just had to wonder more often than not at the things that were happening – it was superbly odd, and that family has some particular issues. A decent watch and a decent movie, I enjoyed this one quite a bit.