Review: The Imitation Game


Buried within the crazy 2014 Christmas movie season is The Imitation Game, the story of Alan Turing – a mathematician, genius, and one of the unknown heroes of World War II.

With Britain’s government stumped by the Nazi’s secret code, known as Enigma, they turn to Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) and a group of code-breakers to help solve the world’s most unsolvable puzzle. Turing’s obsession with riddles and ciphers plus his ability to keep secrets made him the perfect candidate for British Intelligence.

The Imitation Game is a story about Turing’s struggle to play well with others as well as take orders from British Intelligence – he’s not fond of either. It’s also a race against time to beat the Nazi’s code and win the war. Underneath it all, it’s also about the politics of war. It’s about the people behind scenes who fight the war within the war. It’s about the power of secrets.

Cumberbatch is disturbingly good at playing hyper intelligent/socially awkward characters. I’m starting to think he’s a little bit like this in real life. The hardest thing for an actor to do is to make you believe they are the character they’re playing. Cumberbatch’s Turing feels like the distant cousin of his Sherlock, but he’s such a great actor it’s impossible to not get swept up in his performance. You can feel the energy he provides in each scene. These types of performances are starting to become routine for him and I love it. The more Cumberbatch, the better.

Luckily Mr. Cumberbatch isn’t alone. He’s surrounding by a great supporting cast including Keira Knightley, Allen Leech, Matthew Beard, and Mark Strong. They’re all helped by the great screenplay by Graham Moore. His ability to write good characters and sharp dialogue within a compelling story hopefully won’t go unnoticed during Oscar season. His best work is the final scene between Turing and Joan Clarke (Knightley). It’s almost impossible for the room to not get a little dusty during that scene.

One of the movie’s scene stealers is a young Turing played by Alex Lawther. He’s great as a young Turing trying to figure out who his while discovering his love for knowledge and puzzles.

More than a movie, The Imitation Game is a story of an unsung war hero who should have statues all over Europe and schools named after him. I guess a great biopic will do for now.

Grade: B+