The Imitation Game – 4 out of 5
To me, the Imitation Game is me telling my friends that I can perfectly impersonate them and then I proceed to just make fart noises with my mouth because I like my friends to have absolutely no trust in me and also see me as a gigantic asshole. In this film with Benedict Cumberbatch, the game is a lot different.
|I don't even want to add a caption. This shot just looks cool.|
|How good is Charles Dance as an actor? He made being|
shot with a crossbow on the toilet look dignified.
The Imitation Game revolves around the brilliant mathematician Alan Turning (Cumberbatch). In the late 1930s when a little skirmish called World War II was ravaging Great Britain, Turning joins with a cryptography team in an attempt to break the German’s code and their Enigma machine. Everyday is filled with frustrations as time plays against the team and Turning sets his sights on designing a machine that will do the code-breaking for them; a machine he lovingly names Christopher (his past sheds the light on why he picked that name). While this is going on, he deals with the drama of not fitting in with the team but definitely attempting to, fighting so there is a place in the decoding for the brilliant mind of Joan Clarke (Keira Knightley) because, back then, men didn’t want to know that women had brains and could think, and working to hide a secret that could get him in quite a bit of trouble with the law (hint: he’s gay and that used to be considered a crime. Shut up, it's not a spoiler since it was a major part of the story and a part of history). Years later in 1951, Turning would recall all of this and all of his achievements during the war after his home is broken into and a stupidly motivated police detective (Rory Kinnear) does everything he can in order to find some dirt and bring charges on the man.
|"And after I get some dirt on Turning, I will finally catch the Beer Baron."|
The Imitation Game is pretty damn cool and interesting for several reasons. First off, the story is inspirational, horrifying and extremely dramatic all at the same time. It’s cool that Turning did what was thought to be impossible and break the machine that was coding the messages from Germany and it’s even neater that this was kept a secret for years until it was eventually declassified. However, the crime committed on Turning is horrific to see unfold on the screen because, since it is 2015 and I’m not some close-minded religious Red State occupant who can’t accept that homosexuality is genetic and not a choice to piss off members of the Tea Party and the Westboro Baptist Church, seeing that there was a time when, even after being instrumental in saving untold number of lives during war, a person can be persecuted and criminalized for not loving the opposite sex is a confusing and terrible thing (although, I sadly have extended family matters who probably thinks this makes sense…but they also claim English was declared a national language, that America is a Christian nation, and evolution is a lie created by the devil…so, they might not be the people to turn to for…well…anything). What I'm saying is that the punishment dealt to Turning for being just who he was born to be and done so after proving to be a hero to his country is something that is appalling and utterly disgusting.
|To break up my rant of bigots, here's a photo of Knightley.|
Alan Turning’s story is something that had to be told so we learn from our mistakes as a human race and how stupidly ignorant we were. The things Alan did during the war, his relationships as a child, and the injustice done upon him despite being a true and real hero makes for perfect drama and intrigue. Things are only enhanced when you have a man whose acting talent is so amazing that it’s almost supernatural in origin (which might be why he was cast as Doctor Strange…it’ll save on the special effects budget because I’m fairly certain Cumberbatch can probably actually make magic happen). Benedict Cumberbatch doesn’t have to prove that he’s talented (because we already know) but the dude seems to take every role that comes his way and makes them addicting and captivating to watch. Turning’s story is already sympathetic (as long as you’re not an intolerant homophobic asshole, I guess) but Cumberbatch’s performance made it even more so. He made the tortured brilliance and hidden secret life of Turning have weight to it and feel authentic.
|Sometimes Cumberbatch is too likeable for his own good. Stop being so|
lovable and overwhelmingly enjoyable!
The rest of the cast is also delivering quite well. Keira Knightley is great as Joan Clarke and has some fantastic chemistry with Cumberbatch. The entire team is filmed with actors just laying it down like it’s no thing ("it" which is being laid down is awesome acting, FYI). Finally, there’s some great safe bet actors like Charles Dance and Mark Strong in the ranks who, you know the moment you see them, are going to give a fantastic performance.
|Mark Strong's real name is Mark Strong Performance In Everything He Does.|
(And yes, that joke is stupid.)
In the end, The Imitation Game is filled with a strong cast and tells a interesting and bitter-sweet story that fills you with pride over the achievements Turning made when cracking the German code and leaves you drained from shame when you see how he was treated for just being who he was. Additionally, the way the story intermingled various points of his life—his time as a child, his time during the war, and his interrogation—melded together perfectly and made a story that flowed exceedingly well. Overall, it’s just a very powerful and emotional film.