I was lucky enough to get an advanced screening ticket to see The Imitation Game (staring Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightly) and honestly, I don’t think I could rave about it more.
The film follows a segment in the life of Alan Turing, the man who broke the Enigma code and shortened World War II by at least two years. Benedict Cumberbatch is actually fantastic as the arrogant but brilliant Turing, surrounded by an amazing supporting case and the story itself is compelling regardless of how little or how much you know.
For a little non-spoiler review, follow me under the cut.
I need to qualify this review with the following statement: “I am still thinking about this movie days later”. I don’t know if that is just me, but Turing is such an interesting person and we have so much to be thankful for because of his achievements that I feel like I want to know everything about him. It’s perhaps a credit to Cumberbatch for pulling together such a compelling version of the man that I can’t seem to shake both him, his genius and his subsequent treatment.
This movie makes you laugh, it makes you tear up, it made people in the audience audibly talk at the screen, it made people clap in their seats and yelp; and to be honest, I haven’t seen a period type film do that. Turing’s struggle to decipher the code is intriguing and at times you can actually feel his desperation and frustration. His struggle to decipher human behaviour is even more fascinating, and in many ways is the actual focus of the film. Turing seems to be very much on the autism spectrum and Cumberbatch seems to perfectly capture the confusion, the brilliance and the emotion that Turing experiences as a result.
The supporting cast is brilliant with both Charles Dance and Mark Strong providing some great comedic beats and Keira Knightly knocking it out of the park with her portrayal of Joan Clarke, the only woman on the team at a time when women were not seen as intellectual equals. Her social know how is as impressive as her mathematical mind and her relationship with Turing; although it has been argued that this was played up, made the story far more complete in the short span of time that we had to view it. Joan was not only brilliant, but in many ways was Turing’s equal, confidant and had a completely modern idea of life, relationships and finding meaning in what one does. I say modern, but I know that there are people who continue to struggle with these very concepts and cling to traditional views of marriage and relationships. She’s a breath of fresh air and had a lot of cinema goers fist pumping.
All up, the style of this film, the structure of the narrative, the compelling performances and the perfect pacing make this a must see alone, but if you need another reason, go and see it because of the man that Alan Turing was and the respect that he deserves. I’m writing this post on a device created because of him, and that’s how you are reading it. It’s a fantastic thing.