Review of 'The Imitation Game'

the_imitation_game.jpg In World War II, Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch), a brilliant mathematician works at Bletchley Park in England to help decrypt German communications encrypted using the “Enigma” device. Turing is a recluse as he works on his own to design a computing device capable of decrypting the daily communications. Here Turning is depicted as what we might know as Autistic - preferring to work with numbers and figures than with people. An unlikely friendship is struck with an intelligent young woman drafted into help with the task - Joan Clarke (Keira Knightley) who, though not “seeming” to be working with the men on Turing's team helps Turing in his efforts. Initially denied the money to create his machine he goes above his superiors to the Prime Minister but when the machine is eventually created but fails to initially deliver results the pressure is squarely on his shoulders with time running out.

We see here flashbacks to Turing's close friendship in school with another boy who seems to understand him. This is the beginnings of his homosexual tendencies that eventually lead him to be convicted of “sexual deviation” and no doubt contributing to his eventual suicide.

Cumberbatch does a very believable job of portraying the brilliant though controversial Turing. To be honest, this is not a million miles away from his most famous role as Sherlock, so this is not so much of a stretch.

Perhaps the pace of the film is somewhat slow but the (packed) audience who saw it with me were riveted to the screen throughout with very little talking during the movie. It is engrossing to watch and draws one in though the distance that Turing seems to put between people makes it hard to believe that he can get close to anyone - Never mind close enough to have sex with them. Certainly Knightley here provides a human side to Turing - talking to him and bringing him out of his shell to a certain degree.

A suitable tribute to a man that significantly helped win the war - Honest and painful to watch at times, it only brings what he accomplished into sharp relief. We may not like the man but he was certainly a hero.

Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2014-12-01

Directed by: Morten Tyldum

Studio: Black Bear Pictures

Year: 2014

Length: 114 minutes

Genre: Melodrama

Other reviewed films by Morten Tyldum: