Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode
Director: Morten Tyldum
Running Time: 114 mins
The Imitation Game is a British film about the life of the extraordinary mathematician Alan Turing, famous for his ground breaking work during the Second World War as he attempted to find and crack the Germans’ allegedly ‘unbreakable’ code: Enigma.
There’s no doubting this film’s intelligence and respect for this biographical story, which is a fantastic difference from the cheesy 2001 film Enigma, as this focusses so significantly on the historical aspect of the cracking of Engima, while also looking deep into the fascinating man that was Alan Turing, with his relationships from his youth right up until his death.
What I liked most about this film is that it really tried to make this history engaging for everyone. That meant that it wasn’t heavy on technical terms and important historical analyses, but instead was more focussed on creating an informative and interesting film that was also very entertaining to watch.
One of the reasons that it is so entertaining to watch is because it’s so exciting. While the pace is a little on the slow side, the stakes in this film are so evidently high that there’s a constantly exciting atmosphere, leaving you on the edge of your seat in some of the most thrilling scenes I’ve seen in a long time.
Also, this film is actually a lot funnier than you’d expect. Of course, the overwhelming feel is something a bit more dramatic, but in keeping with not being so heavy-going either historically or dramatically, there are a lot of laughs throughout this film that really do make you smile and add to the entertainment of it all.
What I think makes this film so surprisingly funny is its quirkiness and straightness, which is in effect the character of Alan Turing. Not only is he enigmatic and absolutely fascinating, but his genius makes him quite an odd, funny fellow, which made me like him a lot more than if he were just presented as a mathematician.
Of course, that was all helped by a very strong performance by Benedict Cumberbatch. I’m imagining Oscar nods will be coming his way, and deservedly so, because he really embodies the man that was Alan Turing and makes him so easy to support, which makes some of the latter stages of the film, regarding Turing’s persecution for being a homosexual, all the more hard-hitting.
That was one thing that surprised me about this film the most was that it didn’t focus too much on Turing’s homosexuality. I think that this was done in order to maintain the more entertaining atmosphere of the codebreaking story, but this topic was still dealt with respectfully and interestingly, but maybe not as much as it should have been.
Overall, this gets a 7.3, because it’s a well-acted, entertaining and interesting historical film, but it’s nothing particularly special or outstanding.