The Imitation Game is based on the real-life story of Alan Turing (played brilliantly by Benedict Cumberbatch), who invented one of the earliest versions of the computer to break the code the Nazis were using during WWII. The computer, which came to be known as a Turing Machine at the time, was created to not only decipher secret codes but to explore the concept of artificial intelligence which Turing had a fascination with. Turing’s machine became pivotal during WWII as a means of providing intelligence, some say the invention helped to shorten the war by at least 2 years and saved millions of lives in the process.
Part of the twist to Turing’s story is that he was gay. These days being gay doesn’t quite carry the stigma it carried in the 1940’s when it was considered illegal. Unfortunately Turing’s secret was exposed and he was sentenced to hormone therapy as a form of “rehabilitation” for his gay “condition”.
From what I’ve read, most of the story in this film is fairly close to the events being portrayed. The writing is compelling although the dialog at times is a bit dry and intellectual. Ultimately the story kept my interest as I was interested in Turing before I saw the film and found the dialog and presentation of the details really entertaining. I don’t see many intellectual films that keep my interest this much, many of them get lost in their own pretense but The Imitation Game keeps things moving albeit at a gradual pace.
The acting and directing are both superb. The film has an authentic style that recreates the 40’s in an all immersive visual presentation taking the viewer through a convincing portrayal of the time period. Morten Tyldum directs and puts together a detailed, emotional film that should become a classic. Cumberbatch is powerful, subtle, cocky, and vulnerable all within the same space of the character he plays. His performance is one of the reasons to see this film. The rest of the cast is tight too and includes Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Rory Kinnear, Charles Dance, and Mark Strong. All-in-all the cast is passionate in the deliveries of their characters.
Cumberbatch was nominated for an Oscar and the film won for Best Writing from an Adapted Screenplay. If you like intellectual dramas and have an interest in some of the stories you don’t get to hear so much about WWII, check out The Imitation Game.
reviewed by Sean McKnight