In 1939, newly created British intelligence agency MI6 recruits Cambridge mathematics alumnus Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) to crack Nazi codes, including Enigma — which cryptanalysts had thought unbreakable. Turing’s team, including Joan Clarke (Keira Knightley), analyze Enigma messages while he builds a machine to decipher them. Turing and team finally succeed and become heroes, but in 1952, the quiet genius encounters disgrace when authorities reveal he is gay and send him to prison.
The Imitation Game, beyond the film, was eye-opening and inspiring. The movie painted a clear picture of Alan Turing and the difficulties someone with his preferences and ideas could endure during a time of bleakness. Backed by solid performances and a succinct flow, director Morten Tyldum succeeds in giving a hero the exposure and recognition that he deserved.
All my viewings of Benedict Cumberbatch has been limited to his appearances in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Sherlock, both of which have him play a flawed intellectual who still manages to have a heart to care about the ones close to him. He still maintains the eccentric intellectual aspect, but is less, for a lack of better term, douchebag-ey. In place of that, there’s a lot of vulnerability and openness to his performance.
Keira Knightley’s star shines just as bright as her male counterpart. Cumberbatch’s awkwardness is balanced out with her confidence and charm, and even though the audience can insinuate his true feelings, it isn’t hard to not root for the couple to find their way together as well.
Of course in the movie such as this there is going to be scientific jargon, but that is kept at a minimum. Thankfully, what is place at the forefront are the difficult choices that the scientists must face when accomplishing their goal. Not only does it give an opportunity for the actors to really go for it in the acting department, but raises the tension in the film drastically, reveals each character’s true sentiments.
Director Tyldum was clearly trying to go for something regarding the pace of the film. Each scene flows really well, and the transitions in-between are seamless, but unfortunately, some placement in which those scenes take place are confusing. Even towards the end, the film will jump into the future.
Yet my biggest disappointment came in the form in the story. Not to say that what these men had done wasn’t heroic, but taking the context out of the film, there were many moments that you could tell that was copy-and-paste from other underdog stories. Even though the film does its best to not necessarily mask the tropes they had, they charm us with the personnel and stakes.
Get to the point: I can’t say whether or not Turing himself would be proud of this film, but there is plenty to enjoy and it’s probably Benedict’s best work that I have seen thus far.
The Inquirer’s Rating: 65%