Movie Review – The Imitation Game (2014)

Director: Morten Tyldum

Stars: Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Mark Strong, Charles Dance, Allen Leech, Rory Kinnear, Matthew Beard

The Imitation Game is the story of Alan Turing (Cumberbatch) as he and a team of cryptologists race against time to try and break the seemingly impossible German Enigma code, while also showing the tragic events of his later life.

The Imitation Game floats between three time periods. The main chunk of the film is around WWII, but it also jumps between his childhood a school and then his later life when he gets burgled and a tenacious detective starts to look into Turing’s past. I thought each of these periods were interesting to watch but I found it strange how some of them were marked with a date and location while others weren’t. Still, it’s not difficult to tell which time period is being focused on.

I found the plot about Enigma fascinating, as most war films focus on the blood and thunder of the battlefield (which makes for more epic and rousing cinema). I liked how it focused on the puzzle of the code, and Tyldum was able to eke out surprising tension from watching dials on a machine rotate. There are scenes of warfare thrown in though, so one never forgets that there is a horrible conflict going on. Cumberbatch has received many plaudits for his performance already so all I’m going to say is that they’re well deserved. The rest of the cast give strong performances as well, most notably Keira Knightley who shows a steely resolve.

I liked the kind of brain trust and the dynamics of the team, because no-one really liked or trusted Turing. At one point during the film it’s revealed that there’s a Soviet spy working for the codebreakers, but nobody seems that worried about it and it’s almost forgotten about. In fact I had wondered whether it was all a ploy to set Turing up, since after they proved it wasn’t him it wasn’t really mentioned again until much later. I did, however, love the ethical and moral decisions that they had to make towards the latter end of the film.

I thought The Imitation Game was pretty good. The treatment of him for being homosexual certainly sheds a light on a horrible part of our history and it’s awful that anyone should have had to gone through that, let alone a man who should be (and now is) considered a war hero.

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