The Imitation Game

2015-01-23 07:06
What it's about:

During the winter of 1952, British authorities entered the home of mathematician, cryptanalyst and war hero Alan Turing to investigate a reported burglary. Instead, they ended up arresting Turing himself on charges of “gross indecency,” an accusation that would lead to his devastating conviction for the criminal offense of homosexuality. Little did these officials know that they were actually incriminating the pioneer of future computing.

Famously leading a motley group of scholars, linguists, chess champions and intelligence officers, Turing was credited with cracking the supposedly unbreakable codes of Germany’s World War II-era Enigma machine. An intense and haunting portrayal of a brilliant, complicated genius, who under nail-biting pressure, helped to shorten the war and, in turn, save thousands of lives.

What we thought:

With five Oscar nominations under its belt, including Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Director and Best Motion Picture, The Imitation Game is a smart, intriguing adaptation of Alan Turing’s time at Bletchley Park, where they were breaking the Nazi-code Enigma, and his subsequent arrest for homosexuality.

Although many of Turing’s characteristics were obviously exasperated and the writers were a bit loose with historical accuracy, it does not mean the film is diminished in its remarkable story-telling and Benedict Cumberbatch’s intense performance in the lead role.

Mathematic genius Alan Turing becomes part of a group of British cryptologists tasked with break the Nazi’s Enigma code during World War II. Struggling to connect with his fellow codebreakers and hiding his homosexuality from a domineering commander, Turing builds a machine capable of breaking Enigma on a day-to-day basis.

Norwegian director Morten Tyldum was not really on the Hollywood map before, but whoever gave him the reign knew what they were doing. When dealing with three timelines (Turing’s sentencing years later, his childhood friend’s death and the cracking of Enigma) one could easily get lost in the time continuum, but Tyldum kept his head, keeping to a very logical layout of events rather than trying to be artistic with the timeline. And for a film on early computer science, logic is a far better tool than trying to appeal to the artistic.

Not that The Imitation Game is in any way boring. The performances of the cast made sure of that, especially Benedict Cumberbatch. I honestly thought it was going to be another rendition of his Sherlock character, and although he borrowed from it here and there, his Turing was something else entirely – even the voice. The Cumberbatch haters got schooled, and one cannot deny his talent and ability to make you like a character that is so unlikeable.

The rest of the cast was also splendid, with Keira Knightley donning a performance similar in calibre to that in Never Let Me Go and proving again that her looks do not define her as an actress (I will still love her forever as Elizabeth Swan). Other notable performances came from Charles Dance, Matthew Goode and Alex Lawther, who plays the young Alan Turing and gave a performance almost as good as Cumberbatch.

If you one of those nerds that like to point of historical inaccuracies in biopics, you’ll have at this one, but for the rest of the moviegoers, The Imitation Game is a smart yet emotionally intense film deserving of its honours and should appeal to your inner computer geek. I know mine was having a gleeful time.

Ian Harrison 2015/01/25 11:43
"exasperated" , presumably meant to be" exaggerated".
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