The Imitation Game (2014)
Directed by Morten Tyldum
Running time: 114 minutes
Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The Imitation Game is based on the biography Alan Turing: The Enigma by Andrew Hodges. The film stars Benedict Cumberbatch as the British cryptanalyst Alan Turing, who helped solve the Enigma code during the Second World War and was later prosecuted for his homosexuality.
Okay, then – I’ve watched another Oscar nominee for Best Picture. I’ll say right away that these “historical drama” types of films aren’t really my thing. But, unlike American Sniper or The Grand Budapest Hotel (screw those!), I still had an interest in watching this one. I knew next to nothing about Alan Turing or his code-breaking or WWII (seriously – I hate history) before watching this film. Actually, I still don’t know much about WWII… Vietnam movies are usually better. Better soundtracks, too.
Anyway! I had no idea that Alan Turing really received no recognition for his accomplishments in helping to win WWII & that everything had been kept a secret for so many years afterwards. I knew about his homosexuality & horrible punishment but didn’t realize JUST how appallingly he was treated. So that’s the thanks he got after all he did?! Seriously – he should have told everyone to go f*#k themselves! Well, I guess it’s good he didn’t.
This movie is good but I don’t think it’s great. I can’t see it winning Best Picture. I’d heard that they really glossed over the homosexuality & chemical castration thing but that’s not true at all – they did touch on it plenty. In a way, though, I find that the more interesting story so would have liked even more exploration of that. However, I understand why the main focus was more on the breaking of the Enigma code and I suppose that IS really interesting but I can barely even do a simple crossword puzzle or add two numbers together without a calculator so a lot of that was lost on me. I found the story of Alan Turing himself more fascinating than the machine he created and I don’t think the movie quite did enough to show us his life outside of the time he spent trying to break the Enigma code, other than showing us a little bit of one important relationship early in his life. I don’t know – maybe not a lot is known? Like I said, I don’t really know anything about him beyond what I just saw in this film.
As for the performances, Benedict Cumberbatch is very good. I think he does a good job making a very awkward and almost unlikable character sympathetic, especially in the later parts of the film. I think there’s too much competition in the Best Actor category this year so it’s unlikely he’ll win but it’s a well deserved nomination. Keira Knightley is good, I guess, at once again being Keira Knightley. Yeah, I don’t like her or her style of acting so I’m probably being unfair. She’s just always “Keira Knightley” to me in every role she’s in. She won’t win an Oscar for this but she’s fine playing the “pretty smart girl”. Oh! Tywin Lannister is in this! And the creepy uncle from Stoker. And the guy who was quite good in Kingsman: The Secret Service & reminds me of Stanley Tucci. Oh yeah – and a guy from the first episode of Black Mirror that has scarred me for life to the point that I’d really rather never see the guy in anything ever again! They’re all decent enough but Cumberbatch is by far the best thing about the movie.
The Imitation Game tells two fascinating stories: the solving of the Enigma code during WWII as well as the persecution of homosexuals in England’s history. It doesn’t really get as in-depth with either of these stories as it could, though, so it’s probably worth reading about Alan Turing if you want to know more than what you’ll find out from this movie. I don’t feel like I know that much more than I did before watching this but it’s a great story that needed to be told many years ago and, from a film fan’s perspective, it’s worth watching for Benedict Cumberbatch’s performance.
My Rating: 7/10