The Imitation Game
The Imitation Game is based on the real life math mathematician Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch). At the height of World War 2; the Germans had their messages sent in secret codes through an Enigma machine. The Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS) worked with Alan Turing to gather up the greatest math mathematicians in Britain in order to decipher the messages the Germans sent, with the greater goal being to win the war.
Alan Turing was an extremely brilliant man but his narcissistic personality made it quite hard for him to get along with his partners. Frustrations ran high while trying to break the codes, because every night when the clock struck midnight, the group had to start from scratch. Turing was able to better his life and his work through the help of Joan Clarke (Keira Knightley). When together, they were much smarter because they formed a great partnership and she helped him befriend the rest of his partners. Thus resulting in the completion of a machine to crack the German’s code.
This film is everything that makes films such a fantastic creation. No other medium could express in such detail the life and achievements of a person in such an entertaining way. Cinema is able to gather up all the different forms of art and merge it into a film, and then through these wonderful filmmakers, incredible stories can be told to millions. People of an older age may have known who Alan Turing was and how through his machine pioneered computers in the late 1940s. However he’s not taught in the school systems in northern California and from what it seems their success with cracking the code was kept secret for some time. It is just mind-blowing to have just now learn about such an important moment in history. If it weren’t for this movie I would have continued to believe it was just all military tactics that had won the war, which now I find quite naive. All this was due to a machine, and World War 2 was shorted by 2-4 years with an estimate of 14 million lives saved.
Benedict Cumberbatch has such a great screen presence with a wide array of acting abilities. He was surely able to express all these emotions with the interesting Alan Turing. At moments the film makes you resent this character but Cumberbatch was able to have you sympathize with Turing in some of the more sadder moments of the film. It was shocking to see what the doctors administered to Alan Turing to “cure” his homosexuality and Cumberbatch is able to sell the heartbreaking effects effectively. Keira Knightley was charming for most of the film, but there was a scene where she flipped to the over side of the spectrum with a decent amount of ferocity. Perhaps it may be I’ve never seen her in anything, but I was pleased with her performance here. The other secondary character was Matthew Goode as Hugh Alexander, he has a quite a bit of screen time through his quarrels with Turing.
I thought the writing for this film was quite well with a few moments that stood out, my favorite being the little speech Joan gave Alan about how they can stay together in love but in their own special kind of way. A massive problem I had with this film was the dramatic, overpowering, and cliché score that it was given. I was surprised to see this film given some Hollywood treatment in that category which made it feel like complete Oscar bait. One could only dream of this film having a more subtle score that are usually scene in a majority of independent films. I know these types of scores are satisfying for some people which is great, but I expected for the film to be thoroughly original and try hard to captivate and inspire the audience.
Overall, The Imitation Game was a great biopic that brings a man whose life was short lived to the screen. It displays the massive achievements he made during the second world war which in turn saved the lives of millions. Benedict Cumberbatch makes for a memorable performance as Alan Turning, and if only for a better score and more memorable characters. The film could have even reached greater heights.
My Rating: ★★★★ / ★★★★★
Dir. Morten Tlydum
IMDb 8.3/10 – Rotten Tomatoes 90%
Nomintated 5 Golden Globes including Best Picture/Actor
Nominated 8 BAFTA Awards
“Do you know, this morning I was on a train that went through a city that wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for you. I bought a ticket from a man who would likely be dead if it wasn’t for you.”