Movie Review – The Imitation Game


“We’re going to break an unbreakable Nazi code and win the war.”

What a deliciously badass line. And it isn’t even the most powerful one in The Imitation Game, the historical thriller from director Morten Tyldum (Headhunters) and writer Graham Moore.

The Imitation Game is a biopic of Alan Turing, a British codebreaker during World War II who did exactly what the badass line suggests.

Benedict Cumberbatch plays Turing – socially inept, possibly autistic, and with a complete disregard for offending others, even commanding officers. And a genius.

It’s Cumberbatch at his most riveting. He’s even more engaging as an arrogant mathematician than he is when he’s Sherlocking or even Smauging. Because he makes it clear that under the fierce mind is a lot of pain. Turing is a vulnerable hero. And it’s in this – and in Britain’s subsequent treatment of Turing – that we find the sadness (and beauty) of the movie.

A lot of criticism has been leveled at the film for its historcial inaccuracy. I don’t think this is an issue. Biopics that stay too true to the facts tend to feel stale, and often stray from the emotional relevance of the story.

As Moore says, The Imitation Game is more of an Impressionist take on Turing’s life. And this is a good thing.

Some lines do feel a little larger than life, and some plot elements tend toward the melodramatic, but these are small details to an otherwise great accomplishment.

It’s a beautiful film, and worthy of its subject.


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