Friday, January 16, 2015

Pale Imitation

I was expecting The Imitation Game to be anodyne Oscar-bait, but I wasn't expecting it to be irritating to the point of being offensive. But so it is, by treating Alan Turing's homosexuality as a mid-film plot twist and then acting like that constitutes psychological character exploration.

The movie acts coy about Turing being gay, with a cop at the beginning of the movie looking at the camera and saying, "I think Mister Turing has something to hide!" and then waiting until halfway through the movie to "reveal" that he's gay.  This is made worse by an obnoxious subplot that takes place in Turing's schoolboy years that makes his boy love abundantly clear and serves no other purpose but to do so. The movie spends half of its runtime on a bullshit 'prickly genius needs to learn how to get along with people' plot that was far more effectively done in The Social Network, comes alive for twenty minutes or so with some actual code-breaking and discussion about the ethics of keeping their knowledge a secret, and then, finally, gets into the British government's prosecution and persecution of him. But then it merely talks about his trial and conviction, and then glosses over his suicide with some end titles. This, after tossing in a rancid joke about cyanide--his method of suicide--in that awful opening scene.

The movie wants to make some big statement about how shoddily the British government treated a national hero based on his sexuality, but ends up treating his sexuality, and his heroism, shoddily in turn. I've heard of form fitting content, but this is fucking ridiculous. That it's being nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay is a travesty of art and gay politics.