Monday 18 December 2017

Art imitates life (sort of) in this 'true' war story


always beware the movie with the title 'based on' - which usually means it has little in common with the original subject matter.

Just think back to the Mark Wahlberg movie Pain & Gain, in which some loveable gym bunnies kidnap a horrible rich guy to get some ransom money.

Except in real life they weren't that loveable and the rich guy was a decent small businessman whose life was ruined by his ordeal.

Still, a brilliant movie, but we could have done without the based-on bull.

And so it is with The Imitation Game, in which Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) and a small team crack the Enigma code and help defeat Nazi Germany, in what's being seen by many movie-goers as factual history.

Sadly for Turing, no good deed goes unpunished when, only a few years later, with the war well won, he is outed as a homosexual and has to endure chemical castration rather than face imprisonment.

Cumberbatch plays him as a dour, largely friendless individual, hiding his sexuality at Britain's hush hush Bletchley Park, and who is brought out of his shell by fellow cryptanalyst Joan Clarke (Keira Knightley) and later blackmailed by a friend.

Except that Turing was in reality a much more fun guy who was open about his sexuality, and he probably never met the spy, and Joan Clarke was no Keira Knightley.

But even though the movie overplays Turing's role in Enigma (no, he didn't win the war on his own), it's still an incredible drama, largely because of the typical brilliance of Cumberbatch.

The sad thing is that the most unbelievable bits of the reality - a patriot being put on trial because of his love life, and nothing else - is true.

Whatever about the messing with other facts, this is a powerful movie and a sad reflection of times gone by.

>>> DVD extras: Not amazing, but there is a questions and answers session on the movie, special commentary, plus making-of special and deleted scenes

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