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Imitation Game & 50 Shades of Grey

Posted on 19 February 2015 by LeslieM

By Dave Montalbano


The Imitation Game premiered at the 2014 Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival and it had generated so much Oscar buzz from the European Film Festival circuit that festival director Gregory Von Hausch could not guarantee a seat for a critic’s screening.

In the summer of 2002, I reviewed an espionage movie titled Enigma, which featured Kate Winslet as a code breaker who helped to defeat the Nazis. It was an absorbing story, but the screenplay ignored an important historical character,

Professor Alan Turing. Played by Oscar nominee Benedict Cumberbatch, Turing is the central character of The Imitation Game.

The film opens in darkness with the sound of Morse code. We learn that Nazi U-boats have been sinking the British Navy and American conveys with ease. British spies have located the German “Enigma Machine,” but cannot decode Nazi transmissions.

Enter mathematician Alan Turing, a brilliant mind with poor social skills. Placing an ad in the British press, Turing assembles a team of code breakers by having them complete a complicated crossword puzzle. Among the most gifted code breakers is Joan Clarke (Keira Knightley). History shows that the good guys won World War II, but the cost of victory destroyed one man’s soul. For those in love with analogue technology, espionage drama and group dynamics, then The Imitation Game is the film for you.

50 Shades of Grey is not a film for everybody; it is not a film that people will not admit to enjoying, but it is a film that people will secretly covet at home. At a critic’s screening last Wednesday night, the audience laughed, got intensely quiet during the more graphic scenes and moaned during the cliffhanger ending. This is more a tribute to Sam Taylor- Johnson’s skills as a director than E.L. James’ skills as a writer.

With an 85 million dollar opening weekend box office take, expect Universal to continue filming their 50 Shades of Grey trilogy for future Valentine’s Days.

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