Codebreaker (2011)

Alan Turing was a fascinating British mathematical genius whose work resulted in breaking the code of the enigma machine and predicted the application of computers and AI before they were invented. It's hard to make his life story boring or unmoving. Somehow, that's how I came away from this movie - unmoved.

This movie tries the tactic of mixing facts doled out by historians and researchers about Alan and his escapades with bland dramatizations. The mix of drama and interviews would normally work okay, but the dramatizations are entirely in the context of a series of visits to his therapist. As a result, it's very tedious to watch the exceptionally effeminate affectations of Ed Stoppard hesitantly spill everything to the entirely unhelpful psychiatrist played by Henry Goodman. The effect is to make the significant and life-altering events that Turing encounters less important or less interesting.

It's not that the actors do a terrible job of acting, but they are fighting against the distraction of the editing, the actual facts being explained by the experts, and then looping into dialogue that doesn't seem to fit in where the story is being told. The whole thing comes off as a mishmash of two different movies being spliced together: one an informative documentary with lots of facts and guys who really need to have their dental plans upgraded and the other a drama being played out between a man and his therapist. Only one of these, it turns out, is vaguely interesting, and it's not the one they hired actors for.

This is clearly going to be shorter than most of my movie reviews - I pretty much said everything that needs said.

Acting was okay
Direction was not great
Editing was meh
Dialogue was not great
Story was muddled

Bottom Line: A compelling story that is confused by the storytelling.



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