The Imitation Game
I went to see The Imitation Game because I like history, especially the history of World War II, and I was ready for something that shone a light on the work done at Bletchley Park. What I wasn’t expecting was the tour de force that is Benedict Cumberbatch in his role as Alan Turing. I had to do some research after watching the film, as Cumberbatch paints the mathematical genius with a very healthy side of asperger’s syndrome, something that Turing wasn’t diagnosed with during his relatively short life. Though it’s certainly something being debated, though two sides argue for and against. Cumberbatch’s portrayal of a man with limited social skills however is spot on and gives the film some comic relief and a huge amount of emotional depth.
If the film is to be taken at face value, Turing was a tortured genius who saw everything in black and white, he was the best, and if you didn’t cut the mustard, you were told so in no uncertain terms. He riled the establishment by bringing a woman onto his team, based on her superior intellect, rather than looking down on her because she was, after all, just a woman.
Turing wanted to work at Bletchley Park because they were trying to decipher the Enigma machine, which Turing saw as the only puzzle worth his time. He didn’t join to do his part for the war effort, it was all for his own pleasure.
Turing’s insistence that only a machine can decode another machine not only solved many of the issues facing the team at Bletchley, but also gave birth to the modern computer. But Turing’s methods won him few friends and saw him having to face decisions that no man should ever have to face.
For a war time drama (which is what I was expecting) The Imitation Game turns into quite the thriller, despite essentially knowing what was going to happen (we did win the war) and I put it quite squarely on Cumberbatch’s head. His performance is what makes The Imitation Game such a riveting, edge of your seats watch. It even makes up for the miscasting of Keira Knightley as Joan Clarke.
Be warned however, you will probably need to take a box of tissues, as The Imitation Game delves deeper than most war time dramas, and shows just how badly humans can treat each other. It may be a tad early in the year to be saying this, but The Imitation Game would be a strong contender for one of the top films of the year.
Rating: M Adult Themes.