Mediocre ‘Imitation’

TuringCumberWhile I think overall this film deserves the praise that it’s gotten, it has a treacly pseudo-patriotric feel as if it were promoting LGBT inclusion in the armed forces. But instead of validating full and equal participation, it’s more as if directed toward our most cynical foes, saying almost blatantly, “Look how nearly normal these chaps are, they can even have sexless marriages!”

Prudence, the film’s key flaw.  Unlike another British film both topically and chronologically similar, which not only was far more successful overall, but propelled its star to greater and greater heights, here Alan Turing is utterly sexless, his motives and choices in the film bereft of viscerally human empathy.  This eccentric odd fellow, whose good chap redemption arrives through his genius, comes off ultimately as half-baked, especially since the film’s prototypical “ah-ha” moment comes through his rare conviviality with his hetero chaps.

Save of course his heroic contribution to winning WWII, a great feat in and of itself, Turing’s brilliance, eccentricity, and humanity are all left tangled and murky.  The secrecy and duplicity that he was forced to endure and pervade as a result are also left strangely incomplete, circuits and routes that are left hanging and disconnected, like the great machine he nearly single-handedly invented, but unplugged and not fully-realized.

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One thought on “Mediocre ‘Imitation’

  1. In somewhat similar fashion it strikes me how another Brit, Ivor Novello, also made a patriotic contribution during times of war with his sentimental (treacly, yes!) tunes that kept spirits up while so many of their beloved young men were sacrificed on the battlefield. Novello was also gay. And so it seems to me sad and ironic that a society that criminalized gay love and spread that practice across their empire enjoyed great benefit in times of war from these two remarkable gay men.

    I saw Imitation Game at a packed house in Westwood. When it was over one sensed the entire audience was stirred by how terribly sad was Turing’s story and the injustice wrought by society and the police.

    These two men are now highly honored “over there”. Perhaps movies like this will help the status quo evolve faster in the States.

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