Having been shelved since 2010 as one of the best unproduced screenplays of the year, Graham Moore’s The Imitation Game has finally made it to the big screen under the direction of Norwegian-born Morten Tyldum, and has achieved instant and well-deserved praise from every possible venue in which it premiered in. With its beautifully written screenplay, excellent acting from a stellar cast, and its fast-paced but compelling direction, this film was well-deserving of its awards praise.
The film tells the story of the late Alan Turing, a brilliant mathematician and cryptanalyst but introvert whose personal life and lack of social skills ultimately prevented him from achieving the full appreciation that he deserved. Notably, for his invention for the world’s first computer which was originally used to decipher the Enigma Code that the Nazi’s used to exchange important messages, and thereby helping to win the war for the Allies. The film focused primarily on his successes during the Second World War alongside the personal struggles he faced with his homosexuality and how it ultimately resulted in the destruction of his reputation and his subsequent suicide in 1954.
I have been a devotee of Benedict Cumberbatch ever since I watched the first season of Sherlock nearly four years ago. I have always held the utmost respect for him as an actor, and have been quite surprised at the fact that it took him until the age of 38 to finally receive an Oscar nomination. Cumberbatch shined as the lead role in this film, achieving a portrayal that was neither over-exaggerated nor unsympathetic to the character traits of Alan Turing, including his posh accent, social anxieties, and quick-wittedness. His on-screen presence was so magnetic, that my focus was never withdrawn from him for a single moment throughout the film. However, his co-star, Keira Knightley, was also a formidable presence in the film. Knightley plays Joan Clarke, a Cambridge graduate of mathematics whose intellectual prowess was often quite beneficial to Turing’s continuing research into cracking the Enigma Code. This character was also beneficial in adding a feminist element to the story as well as an anti-homophobic one.
Overall, this was a wonderful film, capturing both the genius and the man that was Alan Turing, and the seemingly unending string of challenges that plagued him throughout his life, despite the genius he was. This was Benedict Cumberbatch’s best performance to date, but Keira Knightley was hardly overshadowed by him. The film presented Turing’s life as both a fast-paced thriller as he embarked on the race against time to break an unbreakable code, while also maintaining a dramatic flair contrasting his achievements alongside his personal struggles and ultimate downfall. The Imitation Game outdid its fellow Oscar nominees, and I will always be of the opinion that it was, without a doubt, the best film of the year.