Tag Archives: drama

The Imitation Game: Oscar Nominee 2015

Synopsis: Mathematician and logician, Alan Turing, is recruited by the English government, to help crack the Nazi code, Enigma, during WWII. Quad_BC_AW_[26237] Imitation Game, The Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode.

I can’t even begin to comprehend the vast abundance of subtext present in this movie. But, we have to begin somewhere…

Having never read the book myself and being aware of the often dramatised events in movies, I was thoroughly amused at the way Alan Turing was portrayed to have solved the Enigma code. There’s fantastic Christopher, the machine to which at first seems is just the most brilliant piece of technology ever built- until it starts taking weeks or months to even crack one code from millions of possibilities. The solution came to Alan in the most strangest way possible: flirting. Let me explain. From a young age, we can see Turing struggling to make friends and was always pointed out as the odd duck. He wonders how people are able to talk so easily to one other when they never say what they mean, yet, the other person understands what is being said. I never really thought about conversations being codes swapped from one another and then our brains deciphering the meanings behind them. It’s so normal and automated- the deciphering, I mean- that most of us probably aren’t aware that we do it on a daily basis. Because Alan Turing had problems with this, he was able to figure out how to solve Enigma, hence the running theme through The Imitation Game, “Sometimes it is the very people no one imagines anything of, who do the things no one can imagine”. Alan, obviously not knowing how flirting worked, watched and listened as his friend, Hugh, showed and explained to him how it worked. This is how Alan solved Enigma:

  1. The woman, Helen, smiled at Hugh and didn’t look back in 15 benedict-cumberbatch-imitation-game-3minutes.
  2. Helen sent a coded a message out to Hugh and Hugh read the coded message
  3. He understood it as he knew what the input the message had been in the first place before coding
  4. She wanted him to come over.
  5. Alan watching this exchange was able to figure out this was exactly the case with Enigma.
  6. Enigma had the same whether words (or “cues” in the case of flirting) when the coded message came through.
  7. He knew then, that he just had to watch out for these words rather than the millions of millions of possibilities beforehand (if we are still going with the flirting comparison, he just had to watch out for the flirting cues, rather than aggressive cues or anxiety cues of conversation).
  8. He also knew someone used the same 5 letters when transmitting because they had a girlfriend hence why he later says, “Love may have cost Germany the war!”

That’s pretty impressive. The reason the Germans got caught in the end was simply because, they were so sure it was impossible to crack Enigma, they became complacent with the coding and used the same words over and over again. Imagine if they had used different words other than whether vocabulary and “Heil, Hitler”? That would have been extremely bad luck for the English.

Now, the morality. Based on a true story and adapted from the book, 2014-12_turing_bookAlan Turing: The Enigma” written by Andrew HodgesThe Imitation Game reveals the government’s actions at winning WWII. Initially, we are faced with the question, “What is he on about?”, as Alan asks to “listen closely” and not to judge. After the amazing feat of solving Enigma, however, they were faced with a dilemma. There was no way they could save everyone or the German’s would become suspicious and change the Enigma’s settings. And now it becomes clear why they asked the audience not to judge in the beginning. How could human’s ever decide who gets to live and who doesn’t? What gives us the right to make that judgement? That sinking feeling hung heavily in the air as they let one of their own cryptographer’s brother die. All these self-righteous thoughts began popping in my head, “How could the government let this happen? How?!” After much deliberation, it became apparent to me that they probably had no choice. Statistics really was the only way to go. They could either use the secret they held to save all the people but then the Germans would change their settings, and they would end up back to square one. And then more people would have died as a result. They had to sacrifice the few for the good of the many. I really hate that saying. It shows just how unforgiving the world can be sometimes. Of course, keeping in mind that this movie is probably in favour of the British Government, it begs the question: Have we just been bombarded with propaganda in the form of a movie so the audience wouldn’t be outraged? Let me know what you think in the comments. At this point, I’m just speculating. 🙂

There is one very unsettling factor, apart from being able to sit and watch mass murder knowing you can prevent it, that becomes quite tumblr_n92l5pLgTP1r1eamko2_500apparent through the movie: the extent of homophobia. I mean, I understand back then it would be pretty bad considering there are still countries today where it is still illegal to be homosexual. But it is still absolutely shocking how people were, and can still be, so blinded by their own self-righteousness, that they fail to see the achievements people have done, the amount of lives they have saved and, instead, judge them for who they are and put them on hormonal therapy?! Whether I agree with homosexuality or not is irrelevant but what I do believe is, if they are not harming or doing any injustice to other humans they should be allowed to be who they want to be without having to live in fear of it and not be driven to suicide. I know this wasn’t explicitly stated, but I felt this was what Alan Turing was trying to tell Detective Robert Nock when he was being interrogated. When Turing asked that just because machines cannot think like humans, does this mean they cannot think at all? and asked the detective to judge him whether he is a human or machine, I think Alan was referring to his difference of sexuality, rather than machine and human. Just because he is different to the majority of humans, does that not make human? After hearing the story Alan Turing had to say, the detective could not judge him. And rightly so.

I enjoyed the way the movie swapped between flashbacks and o-the-imitation-game-facebookpresent day rather than a linear timeline. It allows the audience to develop questions and stay compelled, which is definitely what The Imitation Game did. Fantastic performance by Benedict Cumberbatch as always and was delighted to see him be nominated for an Oscar. He was very well practised for the role considering the character of Alan Turing and Sherlock Holmes are both very similar. Keira Knightley was wonderful as well and her talent as an actress truly shone in the film.

The Imitation Game, being the complex film that it is, rightly deserves to be nominated for an Oscar. Whether the movie is propaganda or not we can never really be sure, but one thing is for certain, is that it gives a shout out to those of us in this world who are different to fight to be themselves and that, hopefully, we can reach a time, that they do not have to fight any more.

Verdict: 10 of 10 kicks

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Gravity

Synopsis: Two astronauts attempt to survive as a series of misfortunes occurs- drifting in space, certain sacrifices are made and hardships test the very core of humans.

Cast: Sandra Bullock, George Clooney, Ed Harris, Orto Ignatiussen.

Gravity, sandra bullock

Before saying anything, I want to point out that the movie isn’t an action film or thriller so please do not be disappointed. It is a drama-based film. The setting of space is more of a metaphor than anything; a platform for her journey of overcoming grief. Ryan Stone had lost her child and, as she says in the movie, that she just keeps driving. In fact, she “drives”, for so long and so far out, that she finds herself in space, running away from her grief and distancing her emotional pain.

When she is in the Hubble and is taking of her spacesuit, there are a few seconds where she is curled up on herself, like a foetus in a mother’s womb- very symbolic of regeneration and, from that moment on, you know she is going to be reinventing herself. We can also see this journey from a “baby” to “toddler” in the end of the movie, where she crawls to the beach, struggles to stand up and is seen taking her “first” very wobbly and shaky steps on this earth. She has been born again and wiped away with a clean slate to which she starts life.

This movie is very inspiring in quite the literal and metaphorical sense. Literally, we see the gravity-movie-review-sandra-bullock-shiopultimate human instinct to survive; the will to live observed so intensely over the journey. But, in terms of emotional stability, the will to live doesn’t have to be in life-or-death situations; but rather being able to actually live after something as devastating as a loss of a child occurs and the tackling of the grief is played out powerfully in the film. We all have the strength within us to carry on when we feel all hope is lost, but sometimes we need a little push (in the film, it came to Doctor Stone in the form of her friend Matt Kowalski) in order to tap into that strength. Her falling through the skies like a shooting star resembles hope- that she, at that moment, embodies the extraordinary hopefulness that mankind is capable of; She is not a survivor of a dangerous mission in space, but a champion in her triumph of her war with grief. She has finally learned to let go, stopped driving and has come back home

It was intriguing how they kept mentioning things such as “Silence; I could get used to this” or “the view is amazing” While all of that is true, the film seeks to answer the question, could we really live in space? Not in terms of the dangers of lack of oxygen or meteorites but would we be able to leave our earth? To live without contact from others? Humans are creatures of sentiment; it could be the reason for our ultimate destruction- or salvation as we glimpse in the film when she finds the motivation to live in the love of her daughter, rather in her self-pity which is often a paralytic. Upon being able to contact someone on earth, she asks them to make their dog bark and to continue singing a lullaby for their baby. Sure, space is beautiful with its sunrise and its many stars, but we can see all that from earth, too. We are curious enough to explore the universe as there is so much more we have yet to observe and learn. But, just like Ryan, we would start to miss the simple things that make our world; the singing of birds, the colours of the sky, the magnificence of the landscape , the warmth of our loved ones…why would we ever want to leave all that behind?

In terms of science, the movie attempted to be as realistic asgravity-movie-review-space-2 possible- attempted being the operative word. We observe the Hubble and the ISS and the Chinese Space Station all within sight, when in reality, the ISS orbits 400 km above Earth, the Hubble at 560 and the Chinese station simply does not exist yet. In addition, the ease to which she changed orbital planes was exaggerated as they would be really time-consuming and energy intensive. The physics is wrong when we notice tension in the strings when, in space, it should be relatively easy to pull the cables. Similarly, Sandra Bullock’s tear drops would’ve just stuck to her face. I also had trouble believing that a medical engineer, which Ryan Stone was, would be granted permission to accompany the mission, let alone actually leave the interior of the Hubble, even if she had training for 6 months prior.

Overall, a brilliantly executed film with amazing special effects and realistic acting. Like I said before, it is drama-based film and should be judged accordingly. And for its genre, it is one of the best space films I have ever seen.

Verdict: 8 of 10 kicks

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