The Imitation Game ***1/2
Dir: Morten Tyldum
Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Kiera Knightley, Matthew Goode, Mark Strong, Charles Dance
Nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor (Benedict Cumberbatch), Best Supporting Actress (Keira Knightley), and winning for Best Adapted Screenplay (Graham Moore), The Imitation Game is based on the biography of the father of modern computing “Alan Turing: The Enigma” by Andrew Hodges.
But Turing wasn’t just any old geek and he and his team of cryptologists had a major role (only recently revealed) in winning World War II for the Allies by breaking the Nazis’ Enigma code.
They deserve all the recognition that they have received in recent years and this movie helps by shining a light on this almost forgotten (and formerly classified) piece of history.
At one level, the movie is standard Oscar bait (think The King’s Speech or another Academy Award nominated film from this year, The Theory Of Everything) – a historical British setting, beautiful public school British accents, and a celebration of the human spirit through the overcoming of physical and psychological challenges.
So what if history gets a mangled in the process? But Morten Tyldum tells the tale well (even if the framing device set about 15 years after the end of the second World War is a bit clunky) and Benedict Cumberbatch elevates the whole affair with his instinctively restrained performance as Alan Turing, the scientific genius struggling with not only the enormous task before him but also his social ineptitude and repressed sexuality.
Cut to chase: Fascinating bio-pic elevated by Cumberbatch’s performance.