Summary: Based on the biographical story of Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch), who cracked the Enigma code, The Imitation Game shows the suspense-riddled race against time by Turing and his team at Britain’s covert code-breaking centre in Bletchley Park, in the midst of World War II. His undisputed genius significantly cut the war short and saved thousands of lives. He was the victim of an unaccepting society, homosexuality was still outlawed in the 1940s and was not made legal until the end of the 1960s. The Imitation Game stars Benedict Cumberbatch (Star Trek Into Darkness) as Turing and Keira Knightley (Anna Karenina) as close friend and work colleague code-breaker Joan Clarke. It also stars: Matthew Goode (A Single Man), Mark Strong (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), Rory Kinnear (Skyfall), Charles Dance (Game of Thrones), Allen Leech (Downton Abbey) & Matthew Beard (An Education).
The movie truly captures the essence and culture of war-torn Britain. The costume choice and the tone of the movie is paramount. It could not have been done better. In the past, general opinion suggests that British films are boring and lifeless. They are not to be compared to American films. British films tend to be low-budget whereas American films can exceed budgets of $200m. 2014 has shown that Britain can make great films. The Imitation Game proves that, as well as The Theory Of Everything. Both have been nominated in the main categories at the Oscars. It shows that Britain is just as capable as America at making high quality movies despite not having the same production budgets as they do.
With a name like Benedict Cumberbatch, you’re sure to get calls for some great projects. From Sherlock to Star Trek to 12 Years A Slave to August Osage County and most recently being cast as Marvel’s Dr Strange (2016). He is one of the best of Britain’s young acting talent. He has proved that he can play any character and do it extremely well. His name is unforgettable. His portrayal of Alan Turing is phenomenal. In the movie, he is: passive, solitary and emotionless at times. He is human calculator. Turing had no care for his colleagues. He was arrogant and believed that he is superior to all of them just because he is smarter than them. He did not care for the feelings of others. A modern-day analogy is that Turing is a cross between Sherlock, Sheldon Cooper & Mr Spock. As we progress through the movie, we see his friendship with Joan Clarke develop and she manages to evoke some humanity from him. One could say his half-human side makes an appearance. He begins to see his work colleagues as people and not just people who can do his bidding.
Keira Knightley proved with this movie that she can truly act. Her previous movies have predominantly been romance dramas with exception that is ‘Pirates Of The Caribbean’. I couldn’t fault it. She plays a woman with intelligence. A woman would not have been able to display her intelligence in 1940s Britain due to women not having the same rights as men in society of the day. I could not review The Imitation Game without commenting on Charles Dance. If you have watched Game Of Thrones, you know he is nothing short of a formidable actor. He played Tywin Lannister with pure class. He was robbed of an Emmy nomination let alone an Emmy win. In The Imitation Game he plays Commander Denniston. He essentially plays the same role in this movie as he does in HBO’s Game Of Thrones. A cold, hard man. Passive, emotionless and doesn’t suffer fools. He nearly loses it when he interviews Turing in one of the opening scenes of the movie. Charles Dance is a living legend. Do you have any doubts?
In conclusion, this is one of the best films of 2014. The casting was top-notch. I believe that greatest element was the original score by Alexandre Desplat (Godzilla, Argo, The Queen).
Verdict: Glamorous, Intelligent, Exciting, Calculating, Punchy.