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TFF14 – The Imitation Game/Escobar: Paradise Lost

2014 September 4
by profwagstaff


Directed by: Morten Tyldum
Written by: Graham Moore
Based on book by: Andrew Hodges

I don’t want to make it seem like one man ended World War II…but that is very nearly an accurate statement. It was actually four men and a woman. And one of the men was gay.

Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch in, quite possibly, his best role) was the man who cracked the Enigma code. He also happened to be a very anti-social gay man in a time when homosexuality was illegal in England.

The thrust of the story, of course, is the invention of Christopher, the machine that would eventually break the code. Alan’s homosexuality isn’t really brought into the story until much later, but it’s an underlying theme throughout the film. “Too many secrets” as they said in Sneakers. Alan had many, none of which could he share with anyone. Ever.

Cumberbatch has made a career on sociopathic geniuses, but this may be his best yet. You can almost see the personal space bubble around Turing grow smaller and smaller as he gets closer and closer to the answer, and to the few people that he begins to trust.

Turing’s back story is told throughout the film through flashbacks where we slowly learn where his seemingly complete lack of empathy comes from. It’s almost like a superhero origin story. You can see young Turing (Alex Lawther) become the adult Turing right before your eyes. It’s harrowing and heartbreaking.

Showing a mainstream audience a WWII hero who doesn’t kill people is great. Showing how his own country betrayed him just because of his sexual preference is painful, but we need to see it. The Imitation Game wasn’t a perfect film, but it is an important one. Alan Turing is an incredibly important figure in world history, but he was nearly forgotten not just because his project was classified for 50 years, but because he happened to be attracted to his own sex. It’s a travesty that needs to be rectified.


Directed by: Andrea Di Stefano
Written by: Andrea Di Stefano

Pablo Escobar (Benicio del Toro) was an evil man. He was one of the richest drug lords in the history of drug lords and even got himself involved in politics. His power was nearly unstoppable.


According to Andrea Di Stefano’s film, all it took is one Canadian kid named Nick (Josh Hutcherson) to start the downfall. Well, at least he wasn’t from the US. That’s a start.

While we get a really good look at what Escobar did and how far his reach was (he basically owned the Columbian police force and many of the politicians in the country), we see it all through the eyes of…of course…the white guy. Just like every other Hollywood film based on true stories about other countries. This is White Man In Brown World.

You can compare it a little bit to The Godfather, which I’m sure Di Stefano would love you to. (Francis Ford Coppola was in the audience, so he REALLY wanted comparisons to be drawn.) You could compare Nick to Kay. Maria, Pablo’s niece that Nick falls in love with (Claudia Traisac), is basically Michael. I think she actually says, “That’s my family. It’s not me.”

Ok, maybe not. But what she does do is completely excuse the trafficking of cocaine into other countries by saying, “It’s our main export! It’s just another crop here!” Oh…ok. So, a horribly dangerous and addictive drug is your chief export. Great. Maybe you should find a new hobby!

Escobar is actually a good movie with some great performances (mainly from del Toro…the man’s amazing). It’s well made, well written, well directed and gives us some sort of insight into the 90s drug cartels of Columbia. But I just wish it had been about the Columbian’s and not about the Canadian kid who came to Columbia to surf…and was most likely created for the movie.

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