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.