Come senators, congressmen, please heed the call/ Don’t stand in the doorway, don’t block up the hall/ For he that gets hurt will be he who has stalled/ There’s a battle outside ragin’/ It’ll soon shake your windows and rattle your walls/ For the times they are a-changin’
Those famous Bob Dylan lyrics set the scene for the changing times the viewer finds in Zack Snyder’s Watchmen. The year is 1985, but not your parents’ 1985. Richard Nixon is still president after triumphing in Vietnam thanks to Dr. Manhattan (Billy Crudup). However, it’s not all good news — the Cold War has escalated and the world is on the verge of nuclear Armageddon.
In this alternate universe, the superhero group the Watchmen have been forced into retirement. However, after one of their own Eddie Blake (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), the Comedian, is murdered, vigilante Rorschach (Jackie Earle Haley) concludes that someone must be trying to kill off the Watchmen.
Continue reading Watchmen (2009) →
There is a scene in The Imitation Game where a young Alan Turing is introduced to a book of codes and cyphers by his classmate and friend Christopher. The significance of this moment is obvious (Look, it’s the exact moment Alan Turing became the Alan Turing we all know!!!). But Graham Moore’s script plays this moment as a different kind of discovery. There’s no glint in Alan’s eye as he catches a glimpse of a future in which he fathers computer science while cracking the Nazi’s Enigma code, wins the war, and is later played beautifully by Benedict Cumberbatch. Instead, Alan recognizes a comparison between cyphers and the way people talk. Turing, who is thought to have had Aspergers Syndrome, cannot process metaphors and irony because of his extreme literalism. The concept of coded communication gives him a better understanding of how people don’t say what they mean and don’t mean what they say. This, not his mathematical genius, is his gateway into code-breaking, and it’s one of many beautiful nuances in the film.
Unfortunately, the rest of The Imitation Game, like Turing, is overly formulaic. The film adapts Andrew Hodges’ biography, Alan Turing: The Enigma, about the mathematical savant who was the biggest contributor to deciphering Nazi communications with his cryptanalytic machine. This true story could have been an otherwise simple and inspiring tale about an extraordinary Brit, alongside the likes of The Theory of Everything and The King’s Speech, if it weren’t for one major tarnish. In 1952, Turing was convicted of indecency (read: homosexual acts) and made to take hormone treatments in place of a prison sentence. He killed himself two years later. This understandably requires a different kind of film.
Continue reading The Imitation Game (2014) →