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Film Review: The Imitation Game

Last night I was a little naughty and instead of studying, I decided to watch a film that I’ve been wanting to see ever since I saw the trailer months ago.

The Basics:

Directed by: Morten Tyldum

Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightly, Matthew Goode, Mark Strong, Charles Dance, Allen Leech, Matthew Beard, Rory Kinnear.

Released: 29 August 2014 (Telluride Film Festival), 14 November 2014 (United Kingdom), 28 November 2014  (United States)

From left to right: Allen Leech, Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightly, Matthew Beard and Matthew Goode in ‘The Imitation Game’.

The Plot:

Based on the real life story of legendary cryptanalyst Alan Turing, the film portrays the nail-biting race against time by Turing and his brilliant team of code-breakers at Britain’s top-secret Government Code and Cypher School at Bletchley Park, during the darkest days of World War II (from IMBd).

Thoughts:

There were several reasons why I wanted to see this film, 1) it had Benedict Cumberbatch, 2) it had Allen Leech and 3) it had Matthew Beard, all actors that I have seen in other films and television shows and love and admire and 4) it looked like a hugely interesting story.

The Good:

So, with that in mind, I’m not sure whether it’s because I am slightly bias, but either way I thoroughly enjoyed this film. Cumberbatch was brilliant as always, although I have seen a few comments where people say Cumberbatch’s Turing was pretty much just Sherlock. I’d have to disagree with this because sure there are similarities, but there are also enough differences to distinguish the differences between them. Cumberbatch’s Sherlock is fair more self-assured and confident, also much more of an ass (but a lovable ass), than Cumberbatch’s portrayal Turing.

The plot moved along at a good pace, not too fast, but not dragged out either and it was nice to see flashbacks, back to when Turing was in school, to understand more about who he was. There was also a few very funny moments where I think I laughed out loud- quite loudly in fact.

The Bad:

So there was nothing explicitly bad about the film, in my opinion. But I still have a couple of criticisms. First, I felt like apart from Cumberbatch, no one else really stood out to me. Obviously, this is a biopic film about Alan Turing, so Cumberbatch is obviously going to be the main focus of the film, however I feel like there was no room to get to know the other people in Turing’s team at all. Keira Knightly was onscreen quite a lot, and there was nothing particularly bad about her portrayal of Joan Clarke, but there was nothing particularly outstanding either.

Secondly, another aspect of the film was an exploration of Turing’s homosexuality, although I’m not sure ‘exploration’ is the right term, as I felt it was more like quick references than exploration. While there were many references, and even flashbacks to Turing’s first love, I felt that with so many references to his homosexuality (and because it had such a big impact on Turing later,) the film should have properly explored Turing’s sexuality, rather than just brushing over it, it left me with quite a few questions, and the film was short enough to have included at least another few minutes exploring it in more depth.

Overall:

Overall it was an enjoyable watch. I pretty much love anything Benny Cumbs is in so it’s understandable that I’d enjoy this film. I also learnt a lot, as I had no previous knowledge about Alan Turing or his life and achievements, definitely recommend for an enlightening and enjoyable watch.

Rating: solid 3.75/5

Watch the trailer for The Imitation Game:

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