Review: The Imitation Game (2014)

The Imitation Game

Benedict Cumberbatch continues to dominate the big screen, starring in Headhunters director Morten Tyldum’s historical thriller The Imitation Game.  Master mathematician and cryptanalyst Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) finds himself plunged into the underbelly of World War II when he’s hired by the British government – along with a team of code breakers – to crack Nazi Germany’s supposedly impenetrable Enigma code and end the war.Aimed squarely at Academy Award voters, The Imitation Game plays out a lot like The King’s Speech and A Beautiful Mind – and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. At times the script can be somewhat predictable, hitting all the right notes with a familiar accuracy, and the non-linear narrative device proves polarising. But it’s also continuously enticing and robust as Turing wrestles with a multitude of impediments – shyness, homosexuality (which at the time was deemed unlawful) and the overriding pressure of heading up such a mammoth task – to stay true to his heart and his extraordinary skill. Elevated by strong performances across the board – Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley as Joan Clarke, who became Turing’s main confidant – and understated direction, The Imitation Game is perfectly serviceable, even if it only scratches the surface of the man behind the smarts.

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