Given the liberties it takes, it's surprising that it refuses to penetrate Turing's carnality and allow Cumberbatch to truly wrestle with the torment of the man's sexuality.
Its horrors go beyond any single raggedy phantom, reaching back to the primordial fear of death and loss: of a child, of a loved one, of one's own sense of self.
If your answer to the question "When are rape jokes funny?" is anything aside from "never," the good news is that you may still find a lot to hoot over throughout the film.
It does well to put more focus on delivering a plethora of jokes, imitations, zippy repartee, and sight gags than its plot's familiar machinations.
Despite the subdued anger and drawn-out suffering on display, the documentary is primarily a work of hope.
Benicio del Toro's performance is showy, a great actor's parade of indulgences that occasionally sets the deranged camp tone that should have been the narrative's starting point.
Some voices of reason and skepticism do make an appearance to rebut and deflate Bill and Aubrey's monumental claims, but aren't allowed to fully elaborate on their arguments.
The film is simply too conscious of its form and its global-market ambitions to ever feel honestly interested in the themes it purports to cherish.
The documentary is hesitant to show the great work that resulted from Hayao Miyazaki's "grand hobby," never including clips from the classics referred to throughout.
Powell's vision as a filmmaker is frustratingly limited to an information-style presentation that doubles as an enthusiastic advert for the transcendental qualities of the terrain.
Even at its most compelling, it remains inconsistent and superfluous, a lesson that sometimes a movie can feel more fully formed in 19 minutes rather than 90.
As a metaphor for the way we respond to the media, and the way our politics are funneled through the media lens, the film succeeds most when it revels in ambiguity.
To dismiss it as simply an act of hipster appropriation is to cop out, because appropriation is the film's thematic meat.
One need go no further than the film's first segment to grasp how little interest the latest entry in the anthology series has in generating chills from the lo-fi.
A knowing mélange of recognizable genre tropes bordering on shopworn cliché, with little else introduced to the equation to justify its existence.
It ends up taking the furious and bitter perspective that powers the narrative's ponderous dramatic core for granted.
The narrative works through the many contradictions brewing inside its main character in the wake of his personal actualization without ever feeling like a dramatic checklist.
True to its title, the film approaches death as both narrative endpoint and formal focus, its initial vivacious mischief giving way to a Manichean fable about the waning of the light.
If the film were to propose a mandate for animation, it would be what the medium's etymology has long suggested: to make the inanimate full of life.
The film refuses to tease us with suspense, overwhelm us with sentimentality, or defy us with nuance.
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