Directed by Morten Tyldum, based on Mathematician Andrew Hodges’ book Alan Turing: The Enigma, and starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Mark Strong, Matthew Goode, Charles Dance, Matthew Beard, Allen Leech & Alex Lawther. The Imitation Game is the biopic on Alan Mathison Turing.
Premise: Based on the real life story of legendary cryptanalyst Alan Turing, the film portrays the nail-biting race against time by Turing and his brilliant team of code-breakers at Britain’s top-secret Government Code and Cypher School at Bletchley Park, during the darkest days of World War II.
Review: It took me a couple days after watching the film to start writing this review. I didn’t know why it took me so long but since I generally don’t rush these things it didn’t worry me. Writing a review I always try to be original, use my own words, share my own opinion, and try to make memorable with a couple of paragraphs. The Imitation Game is an interesting film with a great cast and brilliant performances but I’ll get into that later.
Watching the film the narrative jumped out at me and I couldn’t pin point why. It starts off with the declaration of war and progressively goes back and forth from 1945 to the 1950s with little flashbacks on Alan Turing’s boyhood peppering the narrative. No matter the time periods the constant in all this is Turing, it is his story after all. I guess, I didn’t understand why the story was told that way. I mean it’s a compelling story, so to me the flash-forwards to the 1950s – his post WWII life
– are almost obsolete. The boyhood aspect of the flashbacks were important and interesting because they helped understand how complex Alan Turing was and gave him depth, as for the flash-forwards I had no clue.
Of course, the movie would have felt a bit boring without the flash-forwards but it wouldn’t have hurt it. Then it occurred to me that without them the British Government looks seriously bad. The man saved 14 Millions of lives – like they’ve reminded us in the film – but they still prosecuted him for consensual homosexual sex, sorry I meant “public indecency”. I am baffled by this, I am no LGBT activist but injustice still rattles me. Maybe more so because if this war Hero’s “kink” was little girls, I get the sense that he, somehow, would have eluded prosecution. And that investigator, who looks consumed by shame and guilt, once he realized what he’s done, does not shake my belief that things would have gone differently for Turing if it was anything other than homosexuality. I may have gotten too far with this but you get my point.
As for the movie, it has all the cultural aspects of this era, by which I mean misogyny and homophobia, no seriously it’s also funny, riddled with humor like most British movies are and it is because of Cumberbatch’s portrayal of Turing. The loner, introverted, socially awkward genius makes for comedy gold. Turing’s interactions with people around him and their reactions to his “uniqueness” made me laugh throughout the film. This might sound like Sherlock, also brilliantly portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch, but I did not once felt like he was playing the same character although, I’ll admit that the two are alike. Which brings me to the immense talent that Cumberbatch showed in The Imitation Game, he not only portrayed a similar character to the one that internationally brought him to stardom but he did it with enough flair and finesse to give Alan Turing a voice and singularity.
Unlike some biopic about great men, the supporting cast in The Imitation Game was strong and memorable, they all had their moments that gave them layers and also elevated the film. Among those people, is Keira Knightley, someone who I had lost hope a long time ago, she showed skills and cunning in this movie for a character that easily could have felt flat and forgettable. She’s borderline fag hag but with a good script and some acting skills she did well. The same skills – why do I feel like it’s an insult to them? – are shown by the talented Charles Dance, Matthew Goode, Mark Strong, Allen Leech, Matthew Beard & of course Alex Lawther.
Morten Tyldum delivered a culturally relevant, fun dramatic film. This man knows how to get you emotionally involved and takes you smoothly through one of the great injustice of our time.
So, what did you think?