Movie Review: The Imitation Game

The Imitation Game

Release Date: December 25th 2014 (Houston Release Day)
Director: Morten Tyldum
Writer/Exec-Producer: Graham Moore:
Main Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Rory Kinnear, Allen Leech, Matthew Beard, Charles Dance and Mark Strong
Genres: Biography | Drama | Thriller | War
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some sexual references, mature thematic material and historical smoking

Official Sites: Web | Facebook | Twitter | IMDb
During the winter of 1952, British authorities entered the home of mathematician, cryptanalyst and war hero Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) to investigate a reported burglary. They instead ended up arresting Turing himself on charges of ‘gross indecency’, an accusation that would lead to his devastating conviction for the criminal offense of homosexuality – little did officials know, they were actually incriminating the pioneer of modern-day computing. Famously leading a motley group of scholars, linguists, chess champions and intelligence officers, he was credited with cracking the so-called unbreakable codes of Germany's World War II Enigma machine. An intense and haunting portrayal of a brilliant, complicated man, THE IMITATION GAME follows a genius who under nail-biting pressure helped to shorten the war and, in turn, save thousands of lives.


The Imitation Game is a historical drama about the life of Alan Turing, a British statistician and mathematical genius whose code-breaking primitive computer was credited with helping the Allied Forces defeat the Axis Powers during World War II. The Imitation Game is based on the biography Alan Turing : The Enigma by Andrew Hodges. The film is set in and around London, during an especially difficult portion of the War.

From the very beginning of the film, the audience cannot help but feel sympathy for Turing. He is a tortured soul. From flashbacks into his childhood, we see that Turing had a difficult time early on. He was awkward, socially inept and quiet. And, so, he was picked on. The bullying, even in flashbacks, is painful to watch, but it is necessary towards understanding the man that Turing becomes. While we do not get an opportunity to see much of Turing’s adolescence, one can assume that he stopped trying to fit-in and, instead, embraced his uniqueness and his abilities.

It is his abilities for code breaking, mathematics and statistics which enable him to lead a group of other similarly gifted minds in the endeavor of breaking Enigma, a German encoding machine used to relay secret battle plans and strategies. The cast of characters in Hut 8 of the Government Code and Cypher School, where most of the film is set, could almost make another movie entirely. There was the cad, the nerd, the bully, and even the girl, all jammed into a small workspace working against the clock and trying to turn the tide of war, while struggling to understand Turing’s frustrating social quirks. There were many heated scenes between the code breakers.

It is a wonderful ensemble cast, but this is not an ensemble film. It is about Turing and the “girl” in the motley group, Joan Clarke, two geniuses who are perfect together in every regard except romance. Benedict Cumberbatch blew me away as Alan Turing. Cumberbatch gives Turing all of the necessary layers. Outwardly, Turing appears dissociated with the plight of war, and internally, Turing is pained and scarred from a lifetime of being different. Clarke, played by Keira Knightly, wonderfully manages to balance the awkwardness of Turing and serves to bring many of the difficult topics into perspective.

Go see this phenomenal film. Many of the subjects are heavy, but do not let that dissuade you. The heavy moments are real and treated very tastefully. Turing says in the film… “Sometimes it is the people no one imagines anything of who do the things no one can imagine.” You will leave the theatre having a bigger appreciation for the things that make us different over what makes us the same.

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