The Imitation Game

It’s taken me a while, but I finally get the Cumber-hype. Take the last 3 films I’ve seen him in (this one, August: Osage County and 12 Years a Slave), and it’s impossible to deny his talent.

I also thought Keira Knightley was good too, which surprised me immensely as she drives me mad in the kooky roles she often takes. But see A Dangerous Method for a good performance – the conclusion must be that she should dump the rom-coms and stick to the serious stuff.

Although this is a film about real people, I wouldn’t call it a biopic – but I understand why those who do may be disappointed in it. I see this as a film about the cracking of the Enigma code, with the major character struggling with suppression and repression. It doesn’t set out to be about homosexuality and what happened to Turing afterwards, and slightly weakens itself by the final images in this regard, suddenly referring to something which had been mostly kept held in (which is how Cumberbatch plays Turing).

I definitely think there is another film to be made about that – but perhaps Derek Jacobi’s TV drama has already done that.

Anyway, I enjoyed this loads more than I thought I would.

Mr. Turner

Just a teensy bit disappointing, if I’m honest.

It’s always an issue with ‘biopics’ – what should the balance be between dramatising what we already know about a person, and telling us something totally new?

Timothy Spall has been getting all the praises for his portrayal of an actually slightly unpleasant man, and while I can’t deny it was an interesting performance, I was left a bit mystified as to why the women who loved him actually did, as he treated most of them quite poorly. I wanted to know more about how a man such as he ended up producing work in such a distinctive style, but what I got was a series of episodes which seemed to lack connection, and some of which could have been left out to improve the pace of this over-long film.

Interstellar

There’s no doubting the mightily impressive visual impact of this film.

It’s a shame though that the script decided it had to be just as grandiose.

Overblown and verbose, there is far too much unnecessary telling and a lack of believable characters, with Michael Caine reprising his role as Professor Explanation yet again (surely Nolan could at least have come up with someone different this time?) and Matthew McConnaughey as a doting father who suddenly can’t wait to leave the galaxy and his family behind.

Some of the ideas are really interesting, but the whole thing comes across as pompous and having delusions of grandeur because it takes so much time to e-x-p-l-a-i-n everything. The score didn’t help either, being often intrusive, particularly the pipe-organ overtures.

But I was at my most annoyed by the Anne Hathaway character. Not the actress – she did what she could with what she was given, as did all the cast – but with her character’s mid-way switch from serious scientist to simpering judgement-impaired idiot. Why was it the female scientist who took this path? Because Nolan struggles to write proper roles for female characters. Eye-rolling and tutting was the order of the day.

Final thought – for a world where crops where failing rapidly, there was an awful lot of beer drunk. Where did all the wheat come from?