Film Review: The Imitation Game


Director Morten Tyldum’s The Imitation Game is an engaging character study, which is sumptuously executed.

As World War II breaks out, academic Alan Turing is interviewed for a secretive position in Britain’s war effort. Alan and a team of talented mathematicians are tasked with breaking the ‘unbreakable’ enigma code used by Germany to transmit messages…

Alan Turing’s story is one that was kept quiet for so long, that even now the mathematician does not receive the recognition he deserves for his contribution to history. The Imitation Game makes a very good effort at rectifying this. It is a story that needs to be told.

The carefully crafted narrative is what makes The Imitation Game so engaging. The film jumps between pivotal periods in Alan Turing’s life. This works well to exhibit his personality, and the motivations that drive him in his task. The non-linear nature of the film creates an element of mystery of how Turing came to be in the position that viewers first meet him, as well as how enigma code got cracked.

The strand of Turing’s sexuality is an important one, which is given significant attention by the script. This is particularly significant, given the recent pardon. Much is made of the importance of what Turing achieved, rightly so, however The Imitation Game also recognises the importance the protagonists sexuality had to play in his life and the struggles of the period.

Brief sequences of conflict, devastation and archive footage are included, presumably to emphasise the importance and urgency of what the team were doing. These feel unnecessary; there are few who will not appreciate the enormity and wide-reaching effects of that war. The aerial sequences appear a little inauthentic. They have the look of animation rather than reality. Alexandre Desplat score is excellent.

Benedict Cumberbatch delivers a strong performance as Alan Turing. The unease and sharpness of the character are aspects Cumberbatch has delivered before. Mark Strong is well cast, as is Matthew Goode.

The Imitation Game is an excellent portrayal of what Alan Turing achieved during WWII. Not neglecting the role others had to play, the film is utmost the story of Turing; a long-overdue tale.

The Imitation Game opens the London Film Festival on 8th October 2014.

Film Review: The King’s Speech

The King’s Speech has ‘Oscar contender’ written all over it. From the wonderful performances and Tom Hooper’s direction to the costuming and score, the film is sure to garner numerous nominations.

The Duke of York is crippled with a speech impediment that greatly hinders his public service. This is only an intermittent issue; as it is his brother Edward VIII who is due to assume the throne after the death of George V. As Bertie begins treatment with the unorthodox Lionel Logue, however, the need for public speaking becomes much for necessary…

The King’s Speech boasts a story that is unfamiliar, despite the fame of its protagonist. While most will be aware of the story of Edward VIII’s abdication of the throne, his brother’s speech impediment is a far less familiar tale. Furthermore, Lionel Logue is a little known name. The film sheds light on this interesting character, as well as depicting a side of George V seldom seen.

Screenwriter David Seidler does a great job of combining personal interaction with historical fact. The King’s Speech flows nicely from the momentous moments of early twentieth-century British history to the private sessions between Bertie and Lionel, and the conversations between the future king and Elizabeth. The film is peppered with humour, which often breaks more serious moments. The combination of comedy and drama works adeptly. The King’s Speech is serious enough that the decisive scenes retain poignancy, but funny enough to remain entertaining and enjoyable to watch.

Colin Firth gives an excellent performance as the Duke of York; his stammer is wholly convincing. The character demands sympathy for his obstacles, and Firth effectively achieves this. Geoffrey Rush is great as Lionel, bringing plenty of humour, as well as depth. Helena Bonham Carter conveys both strength and warmth in her role as Elizabeth.

The sets and costumes appear wholly authentic of the era. Tom Hooper shows a flair for lavish period drama with The King’s Speech. The camera work is faultless, and the tracking shots used in the film’s climax are a nice touch in particular. Alexandre Desplat’s score seems entirely in keeping with the tone of the film.

The King’s Speech is a wonderful rendering of an interesting real life tale. It is certainly worthy of the praise it will inevitably receive.

The King’s Speech is being screened at the British Film Institute’s London Film Festival in October 2010.