Glenn has been attending the 25th Stockholm Film Festival as a member of the FIPRESCI jury where he saw a selection of Oscar hopefuls including ‘The Imitation Game’ and foreign language competitors ‘Human Capital’ and ‘Mommy’.
The Imitation Game
One of the curious things about festivals in a city like Stockholm is that, due to delayed distribution methods, films like Morten Tyldum’s The Imitation Game and Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman (the director’s memo about the name change apparently hasn’t crossed oceans) can compete for prizes alongside global curiosities like Pascale Ferran’s Bird People and Adilkhan Yerzhanov’s The Owners. They feel unfairly situated alongside arthouse titles from the whole globe.
My fellow jurors were surprised when I informed them that The Imitation Game was an Academy frontrunner. Given that the Oscar Best Picture competition at this stage appears to be quite polarizing and auteur-focused, I wouldn’t be surprised if Tyldum’s film about the cracking of the WWII enigma machine cracks its own way into the runaway position. Nor would I be able to be all that angry as it’s really a rather good movie that has been handsomely produced and features several great performances, including Keira Knightley who is, yet again, on film quality-raising duty. While I found its very British respectability somewhat hard to truly embrace, it meant that I was impressed it didn’t always merely go for the easiest of sentimental choices. There are rousing, emotional moments, sure, with plenty of speeches about what's right and just while they wear their primly knitted sweaters and suits, and the end especially will give plenty of viewers less ice-hearted than I a good sniffle, but for the majority of the film’s length it holds its cards relatively close to its chest. At least until the final act, where its quivering stiff upper lip gives way entirely. It’s the cup of Earl Grey of the season: reliably, dependably solid. B+