Day: January 26, 2015

Film Notes: The Imitation Game (2014) directed by Morten Tyldum

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UK – USA / 114 minutes / color / A Weinstein Co. (in U.S.)/StudioCanal (in U.K.) release and presentation of A Black Bear Pictures/Bristol Automotive production. (International sales: FilmNation Entertainment, Los Angeles.) Dir: Morten Tyldum Pro: Nora Grossman, Ido Ostrowsky, Teddy Schwarzma Scr: Graham Moore Story: based on Alan Turing: The Enigma by Andrew Hodges Cine: Óscar Faura Mus: Alexandre Desplat Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch (Alan Turing), Keira Knightley (Joan Clarke), Matthew Goode (Hugh Alexander), Mark Strong (Maj. Gen. Stewart Menzies), Charles Dance (Cdr. Alastair Denniston), Allen Leech (John Cairncross), Matthew Beard (Peter Hilton) Rory Kinnear  (Detective Nock), Alex Lawther (Young Turing), Jack Bannon (Christopher Morcom), Victoria Wicks (Dorothy Clarke), David Charkham (William Kemp Lowther Clarke), Tuppence Middleton (Helen), James Northcote (Jack Good), Steven Waddington (Supt Smith) Release Date in Spain (theatres) 1 January, 2015.

Based on the real life story of Alan Turing (played by Benedict Cumberbatch), who is credited with cracking the German Enigma code, The Imitation Game portrays the nail-biting race against time by Turing and his brilliant team at Britain’s top-secret code-breaking centre, Bletchley Park, during the darkest days of World War II. Turing, whose contributions and genius significantly shortened the war, saving thousands of lives, was the eventual victim of an unenlightened British Establishment, but his work and legacy live on. The Imitation Game  stars Benedict Cumberbatch (Star Trek, Into Darkness, TV’s Sherlock) as Turing and Keira Knightley (Atonement) as close friend and fellow code breaker Joan Clarke, alongside a top notch cast including Matthew Goode (A Single Man), Mark Strong (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), Rory Kinnear (Skyfall), Charles Dance (Gosford Park, TV’s Game of Thrones), Allen Leech (In Fear, TV’s Downton Abbey) and Matthew Beard (An Education). (Source: Studio Canal)

Synopsis: During the winter of 1952, British authorities entered the home of mathematician, cryptanalyst and war hero Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) to investigate a reported burglary. They instead ended up arresting Turing himself on charges of ‘gross indecency’, an accusation that would lead to his devastating conviction for the criminal offense of homosexuality – little did officials know, they were actually incriminating the pioneer of modern-day computing. Famously leading a motley group of scholars, linguists, chess champions and intelligence officers, he was credited with cracking the so-called unbreakable codes of Germany’s World War II Enigma machine. An intense and haunting portrayal of a brilliant, complicated man, The Imitation Game follows a genius who under nail-biting pressure helped to shorten the war and, in turn, save millions of lives. (Source:  The Imitation Game, Production Notes The Weinstein Company)

My understanding is that the book Alan Turing: The Enigma by Andrew Hodges, served to inspire the film, but there are a number of inaccuracies as have been pointed out in several places; like for example in Fact-Checking the Film: ‘The Imitation Game’. I can accept that in a film, as in any other work of art, facts don’t need to completely conform with reality; but perhaps, in this case, it would have been preferable a more rigorous historical approach with fewer dramatic licenses. In any case, Begoña and I went to see this film a couple of weeks ago. I found it quite entertaining, the story was pretty much unknown to me and I understand that the performance of Benedict Cumberbatch is superb. I missed a more detailed account of Turing’s work, there is no doubt he succeeded at the end, but who trusted him and why?  All in all, a thought-provoking film that is worth seeing.

Further reading:

Glasgow Film Theatre Programme Note: The Imitation Game

What’s Missing from “The Imitation Game” by Dan Rockmore

Notas de cine: Descifrando Enigma dirigida por Morten Tyldum

Sinposis: Durante el invierno de 1952, las autoridades británicas entraron en el hogar del matemático, analista y héroe de guerra Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch), con la intención de investigar la denuncia de un robo. Acabaron arrestando a Turing acusándole de “indecencia grave”, un cargo que le supondría una devastadora condena por, lo que en aquel entonces se consideraba una ofensa criminal, ser homosexual. Los oficiales no tenían ni idea de que en realidad estaban incriminando al pionero de la informática actual. Liderando a un heterogéneo grupo de académicos, lingüistas, campeones de ajedrez y oficiales de inteligencia, se le conoce por haber descifrado el código de la inquebrantable máquina Enigma de los alemanes durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial. Un retrato intenso e inolvidable de un hombre brillante y complicado, The Imitation Game (Descifrando enigma) sigue a un genio que bajo gran presión ayudó a acortar la guerra y, consecuentemente, salvar miles de vidas.

Tengo entendido es el libro Alan Turing: The Enigma escrito por Andrew Hodges, sirvió de base para inspirar la película, pero hay una serie de inexactitudes como se ha señalado en varios lugares; como por ejemplo en Cometieron seis errores: los fallos garrafales del biopic de Turing. Puedo aceptar que en una película, como en cualquier otra obra de arte, los hechos no necesitan ajustarse completamente a la realidad; pero quizás, en este caso, hubiera sido preferible un enfoque histórico más riguroso con menos licencias dramáticas. En cualquier caso, Begoña y yo fuimos a ver esta película hace un par de semanas. Me pareció bastante entretenida, la historia era prácticamente desconocida para mí y entiendo que la actuación de Benedict Cumberbatch es magnífica. Echo de menos una explicación más detallada del trabajo de Turing, no hay duda de que tuvo éxito al final, pero ¿quién confió en él y por qué? En definitiva, una película que nos ayuda a reflexionar y que vale la pena ver.

Ficha de la película

Film Notes: Cold in July (2014) directed by Jim Mickle

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USA / 109 minutes / color / BSM Studio, Belladonna Production, in association with Backup Media, Paradise City Dir: Jim Mickle Pro: Linda Moran, Rene Bastian, Adam Folk, Marie Savare Scr: Jim Mickle, Nick Damici Story: based on Cold in July by Joe R. Lansdale Cine: Ryan Samul Mus: Jeff Grace Cast: Michael C. Hall (Richard Dane), Sam Shepard (Ben Russell), Vinessa Shaw (Ann Dane), Nick Damici (Ray Price), Wyatt Russell (Freddy), Don Johnson (Jim Bob Luke),Brogan Hall (Jordan Dane) Lanny Flaherty (Jack Crow), Release Date in Spain (theatres) 1 January, 2015.

About Cold in July (Source: IFC Films) How can a split-second decision change your life? While investigating noises in his house one balmy Texas night in 1989, Richard Dane puts a bullet in the brain of a low-life burglar, Freddy Russell. Although he’s hailed as a small-town hero, Dane soon finds himself fearing for his family’s safety when Freddy’s ex-con father, Ben, rolls into town; hell-bent on revenge. However, not all is as it seems. Shortly after Dane kills the home intruder, his life begins to unravel into a dark underworld of corruption and violence. Twists and turns continue to pile up as the film reaches its inevitable destination: a gore-soaked dead end.

Michael C. Hall brings a shell-shocked vulnerability to his portrayal of Dane that contrasts perfectly with the grizzled “badasses” portrayed by Sam Shepard and Don Johnson.  Directed with an excellent eye for the visual poetry of noir, this pulpy, southern-fried mystery is a throwback to an older breed of action films; one where every punch and shotgun blast opens up both physical and spiritual wounds. Cold in July is hard to shake as an east Texas summer.

Film critic Robert Edger wrote: ‘The essence of Lansdale’s slippery story is onscreen thanks in no small part to Hall, Shepard, and Johnson. But there’s so much wrong with the film’s tone and style that it’s impossible to enjoy what’s right.’ You can read his full review here. Begoña and I went to see this film a couple of weeks ago. Unfortunately, the film did not lived up to my expectations, and I quite agree with Robert Edger’s view.

Read a more positive review at The Hollywood Reporter.

Notas de Cine: Frio en Julio (2014) dirigida por Jim Mickle

Sinopsis (Source: Sensacine) Richard Dane (Michael. C Hall, Dexter) padre de familia, se despierta en mitad de la noche a causa de un extraño ruido. Coge su pistola, aquella que nunca pensaba que utilizaría, y tropieza cara a cara con un desconocido armado. El hombre dispara, instintivamente él devuelve el disparo acertando en su ojo derecho. Hay sangre por todas partes, el intruso está muerto. La policía reconoce la identidad del difunto, se trata del ex presidiario Fredy Russell (Wyatt Russell, Cowboys & Aliens). El problema es que Freddy tiene un padre, Russel (Sam Shepard, Agosto) al que no sólo le entristece la noticia de que su único hijo haya sido asesinado, sino que a partes iguales, también le enfurece.

El padre del fallecido consigue esquivar la seguridad policial y apuntar a Richard con una pistola. Antes de disparar este le muestra una foto de su hijo, lo que estremece a Richard, “ese no es el hombre al que disparé”. Devastados, ambos patriarcas, con la ayuda del investigar privado Jim Bob (Don Johnson, Django desencadenado), deciden unir sus fuerzas para desentrañar el engaño, buscando al hijo de Ben y tratando de descubrir quién es el hombre al que realmente disparó Richard.

El crítico de cine Robert Edger escribió: ‘La esencia de la resbaladiza historia de Lansdale está en la pantalla gracias en gran parte a Hall, Shepard, y Johnson. Pero hay tantas cosas mal con respecto al tono y al estilo de la película que resulta imposible disfrutar de lo que tiene de bueno.’ Puede leer su reseña completa aquí. Begoña y yo fuimos a ver esta película hace un par de semanas. Por desgracia, la película no estuvo a la altura de mis expectativas, y estoy bastante de acuerdo con la opinion de Robert Edger