This is part 2 of the Oscar movie review series. Here’s a link to part 1: https://wetellatale.wordpress.com/2015/03/04/oscar-roundup-part-i/. Up for today are The Imitation Game and Feast. The Imitation Game- Best Adapted Screenplay
This is a biography of Alan Turing, from his school days to (almost) his death. Benedict Cumberbatch plays Turing as a cross between Sherlock Holmes (of the BBC show) and Sheldon Cooper (of The Big Bang Theory).
Fact: Alan Turing was a pioneering British computer scientist who worked at Britain’s cryptography centre, Bletchley Park, during World War II. His work in cracking German ciphers is believed to have shortened the war by a couple of years and consequently saved many, many lives. He was prosecuted for being homosexual, and given ‘chemical castration’, or estrogen injections. (He was granted a posthumous pardon in 2013, since homosexuality is no longer illegal in Britain)
Fiction: Keira Knightley plays a mathematician recruited by Turing to the code breakers team on the basis of an exceptionally hard crossword published in a daily newspaper. She helps with several critical breakthroughs, and provides a more socially savvy foil to Turing’s awkwardness. Also, in the movie it’s implied that Turing was suspected to be a Nazi spy, which isn’t true, and led to a bit of criticism for besmirching his name.
There aren’t too many movies about engineers out there, and I really liked the depiction of his work process here. While the team desperately tries to decode all the intercepted Nazi messages before the end of each day- all their efforts go to waste if they don’t make it in time- Turing tries to automate the system. And eventually succeeds, the night before his deadline (of course!). Watch this movie if you’re a Cumberbatch fan, or you’re in the mood for a good, albeit conventional, Hollywood drama.
PS: As a bonus, I learned that women in engineering have been facing basically the same problems for 70 years.
Feast- Best Animated Short Film
Another Disney movie with a cute animal as the lead… but this one’s 6 minutes long. Feast is about a puppy who loves to eat, and has a surprisingly complete and satisfying plot despite its brevity. It uses the Tom and Jerry-esque technique of showing humans only from the knees down, effectively conveying that the dog’s the star of the show.
Six minutes, well spent: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XIBeG92KKmo