Spoil-Free Reviews: The Imitation Game
So it has finally arrived. Benedict Cumberbatch’s Oscar bait film of the year The Imitation Game has made its slow ass way to DC. I have finally seen it and I will tell you how good it really was. Admittedly I am a little biased when it comes to this movie, I’m obsessed with everything English and even more so if it has to do with Benedict Cumberbatch. It certainly doesn’t hurt the film’s case that it is about Alan Turning, easily my favorite figure in human history, and set in World War, II the fodder of all male cinephile’s wet dream.
The Imitation Game is the film based on the life of Alan Turning, the father of modern computer science, inventor of artificial intelligence, and war hero. Cumberbatch plays the anti-social genius Turning as he is tasked with cracking the German cryptographic machine, Enigma. As with all character pieces the film is never really about one thing. While the backdrop of the film is the team’s effort to crack the code that would eventually lead to the allies’ victory the film itself is about Turning’s struggle with homosexuality and what appears to be a relatively severe case of aspergers in an unforgiving 1940s America. I know, I know it sounds boring as hell. But Cumberbatch is so stellar as Turning and Kiera Knightley equally impressive as Joan Clarke.
If you’re even a little bit familiar with history you won’t be surprised with the ending. But it’s not the plot but the story structure that holds the attention of the audience. The film opens with the famous break in at Turing’s home and the story is told through a flashback interrogation with his arresting detective, an overly curious nuisance played by Rory Kinnear.
The film itself is relatively cookie cutter, there are no risks taken here. The plot and directorial choices come straight out of every other Oscar bait biopic of the last century. The story of a troubled man overcoming his issues to become better as he tackles a seemingly insurmountable problem with a little bit of childhood issues sprinkled in for explanation as to why the man is so troubled. Could have been said about 75% of Oscar nominees in recent memory. The difference here is that the cast is busy running circles around the dull cinematic structure. Cumberbatch and Knightley are incredible as usual and their on screen chemistry is fantastic. But it hardly ends there, Turning’s team of slightly less genius men who eventually come to love him is played by an ensemble made up of Matthew Goode, Allen Leech, and Matthew Beard (I feel like costume and make up should get a nomination just for this).
There isn’t much else to say about this movie except that it’s acted superbly and written incredibly. The director managed to get out of his star studded casts way and it is the story of a man greater than anyone your middle school history teacher made you do a report on.
“It is those that no one imagines anything of that do the things that no one imagines.”
Acting (Main Cast): 10/10
Acting (Supporting Cast): 10/10
Overall Rating: 8.1/10 (great)
Pop Culture Che Suggests: 5/5