Cert: 12A Runtime: 114 mins Director: Morten Tyldum Cast: Benedict Cumbertbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Rory Kinnear, Mark Strong and Charles Dance
Sometimes it is the people no one imagines anything of who do the things that no one can imagine
Alan Turing may not be a household name, but he should be. Only during my time at university I learnt about Turing and enigma. Once you hear of a film based on his creation, one would be very intrigued. It does help when the great Benedict Cumberbatch is on board to play Turing. It has done it’s festival tour, to great acclaim and a lot of award season buzz. So what is The Imitation Game all about? During WWII, the German Enigma machine successfully encrypts Nazi messages. Brilliant mathematician Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) is recruited by MI6 boss Stewart Menzies (Mark Strong) to join Britain’s top-secret Government Code and Cypher School at Bletchley Park. Together with a motley crew that includes his friend and fellow cryptanalyst Joan Clarke (Keira Knightley), he races against time to crack the code. It’s a vital task, with thousands of Allied lives at stake.
This is award season bait, let’s start it off by saying that. But The Imitation Game is a hidden gem for 2014, it’s emotion packed, thrilling and painful. Benedict Cumberbatch has hit prime form playing Turing, he had a blank canvas for his portrayal. No recordings of Turing exist, so Cumberbatch had to improvise. What he created was a loveable outsider, potentially a distant cousin of Sheldon Cooper from the Big Bang Theory. He stimulates all the sensual beats that keep us fixated on a performance. It’s a powerhouse of a performance, he develops as the story progresses and his untimely demise is heartbreaking. Cumberbatch is definitely be a front runner for the upcoming award season. Keira Knightley, as the feisty and fiery Joan Clark, is as loose and comfortable as I’ve ever seen her. Potentially her best performance for some time. She has all the things that make up an Oscar nominee; a scene that will likely bring you to tears, plenty of scenes that play as the comic relief in a dark tale, and being simply charming in every part of the film. The supporting cast is also stellar Dance, Strong, Kinnear, Goode & co, give the film great gravitas. It’s very well casted and one of the better ensemble casts of 2014.
Tyldum’s direction has created such an engrossing film, you are full of joy one minute and sombre the next. Tyldum along with Moore’s screenplay brings a murky dark world out, and also sheds light on Turing’s homosexuality. For me the topic of Turing’s homosexuality was dealt with rather softly. It’s a key topic in the film, but it doesn’t dive deep enough into it. But I also think less is more, this film highlights the man and the mind. It shows us the genius that was destroyed by a society that was seriously homophobic. It brings to life the man behind the facts and we laugh at his interactions with his fellow code breakers and cheer as he proves his theories and our hearts break as we watch him try to cope after his court case. The simple but terrific score by Alexandre Desplat elevates the emotive narrative; and compounds into reality, the harsh realisation of war. My main issue with the film was the pacing during the mid section of the film, so much momentum was built at the beginning and it fell flat. But then it picks up again. That said The Imitation Game is one of the best British films of the year, and a highlight of 2014 for myself. I think society should learn about Turing, and his genius should be remembered for the ages.