The Imitation Game (2014)

I share my thoughts on The Imitation Game, a powerful drama based on true events, directed by Mortem Tyldum and starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley.

2014 has been an excellent year for quality film releases. The comic book films have all been smash hits, with X-Men: Days of Future Past, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy all knocking it out of the park, and original material has also impressed as well. Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar and Dan Gilroy’s Nightcrawler are my favourite two movies of the year and both are not remakes, reboots, sequels or adaptions. And it’s also been a great year for films inspired by true events – Not only have we had Foxcatcher, but also, Selma has been praised quite highly even if I’m yet to see it myself. And The Imitation Game is now, having finally seen this movie on Thursday at my local cinema, something that I can add to that list of awesome true-story inspired movies, with Mortem Tyldum’s powerful take on the genius of Alan Turing, who helped Britain win the war as he attempted to crack the enigma code for the allies.
Most people will have encountered Benedict Cumberbatch in a movie or TV series by now (or both).He’s voiced Smaug in the recently concluded Hobbit Trilogy, Sherlock Holmes in BBC’s Sherlock series and Khan in Star Trek Into Darkness, among others – and he’s being cast as Dr. Strange in Marvel’s upcoming movie, yet The Imitation Game is probably his best performance so far that I’ve seen. He knocks it out of the park, leaving an intimidating presence on the film that doesn’t disappoint. Whilst I’ve grown tired of seeing his name being involved in every casting decision, you can’t help but argue there’s some merit to why his name is being thrown around everywhere. He’s a good actor, and The Imitation Game really shows this, as he captures the arrogant genius of Alan Turing incredibly well indeed.
Keira Knightley also delivers a good performance and can handle her own alongside Cumberbatch. She plays the role of Joan Clarke and joins the likes of Mark Strong, Charles Dance and Matthew Goode in playing some great supporting roles. The film’s actors hold some fascinating intrigue, and it’s great to see that the script, from newcomer Graham Moore, is just as captivating. From the very first lines, a voiceover from Turing, “Are you paying attention?”  It’s enthralling and actively engaging. And it’s certainly no surprise to see that it’s already been nominated for five golden globes, and you can certainly expect to see that success continue.
Whilst the film does brush over Turing’s homosexuality and leaves the fact that he committed suicide because of the resultant persecution (as homosexuality was a crime in Britain during this period) to the text at the end, it hits all the high notes elsewhere. There’s very little that The Imitation Game puts wrong, and with a powerful, yet depressing storyline that will certainly be worth seeing at least once before you make your best of 2014 film list (I’m saving putting mine together until I can see Birdman and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes).
The film itself combines the thriller and biopic elements together incredibly well. The race to solve the Enigma code is handled effectively and the movie’s pace is also pretty good, with scarcely any dull moments. Yes, it is a true story, so chances are you’ll know Turing’s fate, but it’s one of those movies that will have you wanting to find out more about the man involved once it’s finished. One notable fact that you’ll get from researching Turing is that he wasn’t actually pardoned until 2013, which is shocking when you consider that his efforts decreased the length of the war by two years, and as a result saved millions of lives.
The Imitation Game is a movie that you won’t want to miss. It will draw you in and not let you go until the end, with some good performances all around as well as an excellent script. If you feel like going to the cinema anytime soon, you could do far worse than this film.
VERDICT: 8.9/10

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