The Ultra Intriguing Imitation Game
I don't say this often. But Imitation Game was one of the best movies of the last 10 months. To prove that in weight, let's list the heavy hitters of the last year:
1) Hunger Games
2) Guardians of the Galaxy
3) Captain America
4) Lego Movie
5) The Hobbit
6) American Sniper
10) Big Hero 6
With Big Nods to Interstellar and Gone Girl which didn't crack the top 10. Now any time you say "best" or "greatest" you owe it to folks justify what you're basing it on. People make **** up everyday and the world of opinion is both vast and large. In my book, quality remains the y-axis. You have above, the movies people came out to see and see in greatest numbers since January of last year. What's interesting is this list of top performers suggests a certain kind of subject matter dominates the market. The surreal, foreign and distant. We want clear heroes and familiar bloodlines. So when Black Bear Pictures captained an odd protagonist and hired a director who had never done a movie for an American audience, it seemed a bit off kilter.
Based on the life story of Alan Turing, a father of modern computing, on the task force to break the indecipherable Nazi code. In the wrong hands, this all could be terribly terribly boring. But like David Fincher with Social Network, Norwegian director Morten Tyldum understood the crucial balance of authentic humor. If they're smart people, they're humor better be smart. Enter: Benedict Cumberbatch
The son of two actors, he's a guy who looks like the villain, sounds like the villain, and in fact he WAS the villain in the last Star Trek movie. The creators played into this resting perception of how he's viewed from other roles to build a crazy dualism within his character. Starkly sharp and socially disconnected with slats of personalty plus back story. Without giving too much, there's more than one code in the movie. Keira Knightly, his counterpart, is wildly fierce and unexpected without ignoring prejudices of her time. The crew, thankfully, omitted the mundane base reactions some can often include. 'Imagining' how the audience feels a woman should react in x situation, as opposed to how a person would react to present drama. When bold characters carry their own it makes for a less subdued experience.
One of the greatest revelries in the modern surge of Indie and Indie-type films is dynamic script writing and powerful acting have once again taken center stage, and are asked to move the story. We're back to the bonessss! Good drama isn't about the explosion, it's about what you've built it to mean to me. And whenever one of these burgeoning or accomplished actors take on more off-character roles it teases what Hollywood can be. From such soil we can raise our median of expectation. But who lowered our median in the first place?
The funny thing about Tinseltown has always been duty to reflect. They put out things they think we'd like, we give our feedback one dollar at a time, and if they get enough dollars...they make more of the similar. Business wants a trusted product that sells. The Imitation Game spent 14 million and to date has raked in just under 70M in less than 2 months. Ben is up for an Oscar. Keira is up for an Oscar. Morten is up for an Oscar. The film itself, for Best Picture. This is art in the Black. This is what it looks like. And it's our job to assure quality doesn't become a trend.
In my book, to make an incredible anything is no small feat: story, painting, human. But films like this show why it's so very important to keep trying.