Benedict Cumberbatch is extraordinary as Alan Turing, in this truly exciting film. (The Weinstein Company/aceshowbiz.com)
In a year of disappointing movies as a whole, The Imitation Game was a very welcome success, and a truly huge one at that. I’ve been so excited to see films with enormous Oscar buzz, that look so good (Birdman, Foxcatcher), yet fail to deliver as I hoped they would. But this one was much different: an incredible true story, told over three-time periods all at once, with tremendous acting and fantastic tension and humor.
The movie is about Alan Turing, a mathematician who helped build a machine for Britain that would crack the Nazi’s Enigma code. Turing, played by Benedict Cumberbatch, was quite the odd soul, thinking only in black and white and in numbers, unable to truly relate to others. Throw in the fact that he was a closet homosexual, which was quite illegal at the time, and he truly stood out for a number of wrong reasons. But his personal quirks and sexual orientation aside, Turing turned out to be one of the biggest reasons the allies won World War II.
The story was told in three different times of Turing’s life: his childhood education at a boy’s school, during WWII, and in 1951 when he was being investigated. Director Morten Tyldum did a tremendous job of piecing the movie together intersecting all three pieces. I was able to learn so much about how Turing became the man he did, and what his life turned out to be, all while on the edge of my seat as he and his group attempted to break the Enigma code.
What was also quite impressive was the acting, and I’ll save Cumberbatch for last. Everyone did such a good job, and I knew that was the case because it never felt like I was truly watching a movie, or watching certain actors. Everything blended in so perfectly, it was as if it was a History Channel documentary (before History Channel became insane). But the lead man turned out to be the best – by a mile. There’s no doubt he’ll be at the very least nominated for an Oscar, and I don’t know if I’ve personally seen a stronger performance in 2014. The slight stutter, the awkward walking, the personality traits (inability to interact and form “true” dialogue or relationships)…it was all so well done.
I’ve said this before and this film made me realize it yet again: one of the best kind of experiences you can have at the movies is when there’s something unbelievably thrilling that has no sex, guns, CGI, or special effects. All you need is a brilliant story and dynamite acting, and The Imitation Game had plenty of that.
THE IMITATION GAME: (out of 4)
Filed under: Movie review, Oscars | Tagged: alan turing, benedict cumberbatch, enigma, Keira Knightley, mark strong, matthew goode, Morten Tyldum, nazis, the imitation game, WWII | Leave a comment »