So The Imitation Game is a good movie in that ‘Sunday evening, BBC 2, quality drama from the people who brought you Inspector Morse’ sort of way and it breaks your heart because the story of Alan Turing is heart breaking. All the performances do what is needed etc and it’s interesting because, again, it’s an interesting story. But, if I’m honest, like Captain Phillips (2013), it tells you nothing more about Turing and the events in question than a decent newspaper article might.
Maybe the film needed a different structure, what if the police investigation was the story with Rory Kinnear’s character as the audience surrogate, realising that people are more than one thing, rather than just an excuse for a flash back? Films should be honest in their dealings with history but there has to be more than the plodding straight line of ‘this then this then this then etc etc and onwards’.
Turing is a national hero who’s story ended as a (continuing) national shame and that’s what this story should have been about. Sentiment and quality gloss obscures the person and, because we shed a tear, we all get to pretend we’d have acted differently, injustice lives only in the past. It’s a cautionary tale that warns us that bad things happened once and neglects the lesson.
Still you could do a lot worse and the story makes it worth while.