Movies: The Imitation Game Review (or “Whatever Happened To Linear Storytelling?”)

Whatever happened to linear storytelling?

You know what I mean by that right? A story that starts at the beginning and moves forward until the end.

Whether it’s TV or film, it just seems like most writers or directors don’t want to present their tales in a natural order anymore.

In some cases, it’s a deliberate gimmick, in others it’s to mask the inadequacy of the script, but often it just feels like it’s done like that for the sake of it.

And that’s what it felt like with The Imitation Game; the new movie about cryptographer Alan Turing and his team’s successful attempt to crack the German Enigma machine in World War II.imitation

It takes place over three time zones – before, during and after the war – and jumps back and forth between them.

I could understand if it worked in such a way where it starts with him being brought in for questioning, flashes back to the story of how he cracked Enigma and then finished back in 1951, but that’s not what it does. It starts half way through the events of 51, goes back to the start of the war, jumps back to 51 for the beginning of the storyline there, then back to 1940, then to his school years in the 1920s and so on and so forth.

It felt unnecessarily jumbled and it could have been done slightly better.

The other issue with it was that it didn’t seem to know quite what it wanted to be.

Is it about cracking Enigma or is it about Turing and his struggles with homosexuality at a time when it was illegal? There’s no reason why it can’t be about both of course, but the two storylines didn’t feel particularly well connected, and ending up clashing towards the end.

But that’s not to say it wasn’t enjoyable, because it was. Indeed, I’d say it was a better movie than the movie I reviewed earlier this week, Interstellar.

What worked for it was that it was interesting and informative and also involved a high standard of actor. Naturally the likes of Cumberbatch and Knightley were at home playing period roles, but the most entertaining character for me was Charles Dance, who basically has his pick of “Bastard In Authority” roles thanks to him being pretty much the only good thing about Game of Thrones.

And unlike Interstellar, it didn’t out-stay its welcome.

So go and see it;  it’s definitely worth a watch.

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One Response to Movies: The Imitation Game Review (or “Whatever Happened To Linear Storytelling?”)

  1. Perry Armstrong says:

    “Whatever Happened To Linear Storytelling?”

    I recall there being a TV drama series on the life of Capt. James Cook (circa70s?) which confused Mr & Mrs general public due to every episode being told in non-linear fashion. In response to these complaints, when the show was later repeated on TVNZ it had been re-edited into the proper timeline!

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