The Imitation Game seems like the least talked about film that’s in contention for the Academy Awards. It’s had a constant presence at all the smaller ceremonies but it hasn’t been any match for it’s competitors, and no one has been complaining about it being snubbed as they have with Selma. Being a biopic of an eccentric man who goes through a terrible ordeal The Imitation Game fits the typical mould of films that are normally in contention for prestigious awards but I’ve watched it twice now and both times I’ve been left unimpressed with it which is disappointing because Alan Turing (depicted by Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game) was a remarkable person and it really should have been an extraordinary film. It’s done well at the box office but seems largely forgotten about in the public, and clearly forgotten to the people that are voters. Here are the four reasons I believe ensures that it will not be successful this weekend at the Oscars.
4. Historical Inaccuracies
If the film was set a couple of centuries ago then this may have been more forgivable but it wasn’t. It was set during the climax of World War 2 and into the 50s which is actually fairly recent so the general public have a lot more access to information about it, and this was backed by a production company so they had means to do a lot more research than us. Some errors would be expected as they are in any period pieces that are released but The Imitation Game goes beyond a silly little goof by getting details of Turing, it’s subject, wrong including the year of his death and the timeline of his arrest and chemical castration. It is a film and of course they can take artistic liberties with the story line but this wasn’t, it was basic facts. How do you take a biopic seriously if it gets these major events wrong?
3. Depiction of Joan Clarke/Exploration of female rights
Turing was an exceptional human being but Joan Clarke (Keira Knightly) could have been an equally compelling character in this film. She was the only female code breaker working in Bletchley Park in a time when sexism was rife. In the 40s and 50s a woman’s place was to be at home caring for the family rather than out working, let alone saving millions of lives which Joan helped to do. Women still face sexism now so could you imagine how bad it would have been back then? The film could have made more of an effort to depict Joan struggling to find her place in a male dominated environment and the prejudice she may have faced, it was referenced slightly but not enough to have a lasting impact. The film really missed it’s chance to explore inequality for females of the time which is quite ridiculous when Joan is a constant present throughout the film, but she is more of a sound board for Turing than a three dimensional character.
2. Turing’s homosexuality
One of the major critiques the film had upon its premiere at TIFF was the lack of homosexual sex scenes, and opinion I didn’t agree with even though I hadn’t seen the film at the time. I’ve never been a fan of having sex scenes for fetishistic reasons, I actually like scenes in films to have a purpose. Also, would we expect a heterosexual character in the film to have a sex scene just to show that the character is straight? No, so why should a gay character have to? Then I watched the film and changed my mind completely, so much emphasis on Alan and Joan’s relationship, it is the only caring adult relationship that we see of Alan’s. We don’t see him engaging in an emotional or physical relationship with another man at all, it feels like his sexuality is glossed over which ludicrous because it was a large part of his life. He was convicted due to his sexuality which led to his premature death! This was utter stupidity on the part ofThe Imitation Game, like female rights this would have been fascinating subject to explore, and a subject that should have been explored considering the biopic is about Alan Turing.
1. These Guys
Pictured above are Morten Tyldum (director) and Graham Moore (screenwriter) but I’m not laying the blame squarely on them, I blame everyone involved with the film. Alan Turing was truly an exceptional human being who was true to who he was and was penalised for it greatly. The producers, writer, director ect. are responsible for the things I’ve listed above, they made a film that should have been great because of it’s subject matter and the time period it was set in, but it’s only decent. They did the war time thriller part incredibly well but Turing’s personal life and glossing over the intolerance of the time is where the film really faltered and it made it forgettable.
Bonus: They didn’t campaign hard enough
We all know that movie awards are like elections, you have to campaign to win and the cast of The Imitation Game didn’t do that. I think Harvey Weinstein went on more talk shows and mixers than the leads. Tommy Wiseau probably could have got an Oscar for The Room if he had a good campaign strategy.
Don’t think I wrote this list just to bash the film, I truly did want it to be great because I’m a huge fan of the cast but it was underwhelming. That actually makes it hurt more and makes the list seem more scathing than intended. Does anyone else agree with me? If not, why? Sound off in the comments section below!