Deserving of Oscar recognition? In my opinion, yes. Mostly due to Benedict Cumberbatch‘s performance and I don’t care how cliché it is to say that. Casting him was pretty perfect. Imagine with me for a moment: flip the casting of two big bio pics in the Oscars this year. What if Benedict Cumberbatch had played Steven Hawking and Eddie Redmayne had played Turing? I’m sure they both would have done a great job, but physically, the casting in both situations was pretty spot on. Focusing on Cumberbatch here, he is an interesting looking fella. He’s got a FACE, man. Whether or not you are sexually attracted to said face, it’s captivating and unique and strange. That in and of itself does something for the character of Turing in this film- Turing’s awkardness, strangeness, is physically manifested even before acting actually begins. And then Cumberbatch takes that and adds layers of pain and isolation and simmering intellect and social confusion. If someone argues that he’s not a good actor you tell them they’re wrong and then you walk right away from them forever.
My main “issue” with the film is that it’s safe and perhaps more than slightly didactic. I have a pet peeve with post scripts (and narrations, but that’s another blog post) in general, and this film piles ’em on. The post scripts reveal what happened after the action of the film stops- and it reveals some pretty important events in Turing’s life/death that I felt like were kind of a cop-out to not show. I understand that you can’t cover everything in a film. But you can tell they wanted to appeal to the masses and not get TOO edgy or political.
Then there’s the addition of a cheesy post script revealing that today, we call what Turing created….wait for it…spoiler alert…COMPUTERS!! Come on. Add to all of this the fact that for the duration of the movie the music really tells you what to feel- another pet peeve of mine. Check. And they re-use a particular motivational quote several times throughout the film. I like to figure things out on my own in movies, but again, if they want to appeal to the masses, they have to make the message a lot more obvious I guess. It’s just so safe and typical. Oh well.
It seems like some people are being nominated for Oscars just for being in a movie? Keira Knightly did a great job- she always does. But I’m not sure why this role or performance warranted an Oscar nomination for best supporting actress, other than her just being a good actress always and the halo effect from an impressive performance by Benedict Cumberbatch. But it seems the nominators look for something different than I do when selecting the best performances of a whole year.
ALL OF THIS SAID, I totally liked this movie. I did find inspiration in it on a personal level, I am glad to have learned more about this man’s life and accomplishments, the story as it stood was well organized and put forth and it is definitely worth a watch and worth recognizing with awards. I just like complaining.