Starring Benedict Cumberbatch as real-life mathematician Alan Turing, “Imitation Game” tells the tale of Turing and his team who try to crack the Nazi’s enigma code in World War II. Keira Knightley and Mark Strong co-star as Morten Tyldum directs.
The cracking of the Nazi’s secret coded messages is an event that many people are aware of but few, including myself, actually know the story behind it, or who Alan Turing actually was. After seeing “The Imitation Game” it is truly amazing seeing what Turing and his team did, effectively creating the world’s first computer. And it is Cumberbatch’s portrayal of Turing, paired with a fantastic script by Graham Moore, which makes this a better-than-average biopic.
I haven’t seen too many things with Benedict Cumberbatch in them. I (unfortunately) saw The Hobbit trilogy where he voiced Smaug but never saw “Star Trek Into Darkness” and don’t watch “Sherlock”. So maybe it was my unfamiliarity with Cumberbatch that made me completely immersed into his portrayal of Turing, a performance that will land him an Oscar nomination.
Turing is a man faced with enemies and confrontation on all sides. On the outside he and his British government are in a war with the Germans. At work he isn’t exactly the most popular guy, making it very clear that he believes that he is far more intelligent and capable than his counterparts. And he has a battle within, trying to hide his possible homosexuality, a crime in 1940’s England.
Cumberbatch shows a man who can crack codes and puzzles, but the one conundrum he cannot seem to master are human social cues. It is a masterful performance that has many emotions and moods, and Cumberbatch fully becomes Turing.
Keira Knightley plays Joan Clark, Turing’s friend and partner in the enigma project. Clark is a woman in a man’s world doing a man’s job, and Knightley shows this struggle. A woman who is in every way equal, if not superior, to the people around her, Clark was a crucial part of attempting to crack the code, and Knightley does her memory justice.
The screenplay by Moore perfectly embodies the story that is one of the more interesting and engaging classified tales of the 20th century. The script actually features a surprising number of laughs, and gives all characters time to become fleshed out individuals.
When you look at what Alan Turing contributed to mankind (his invention is credited to having led to 14 million lives being saved), a film about him in the least he deserves. However “The Imitation Game” is a very fitting and honorable tribute to him, and an entertaining film at that. There are some moments that are telegraphed or by-the-numbers, and the film’s narrative and motives completely and randomly shift in the climax, but the film is often engaging and always entertaining, and features outstanding work from Benedict Cumberbatch and screenwriter Moore.
Critics Rating: 8/10