Saturday, January 31, 2015


THE IMITATION GAME is what I refer to as a "Oscar Bait" movie. What I mean by that is the picture features several of the usual ingredients necessary to be nominated for multiple Academy Awards, such as:

--the star of the film being British (or at least a native of a country belonging to the British Commonwealth)
--the main character being "different" in some way
--the story of the film being set in the past
--the story of the film having a connection with a famous historical event
--the film being based on a true story

THE IMITATION GAME really does deserve to be nominated for major awards. It is an excellent film, and a acting showcase for Benedict Cumberbatch as British scientist Alan Turing.

During World War II, Alan Turing helped break the Enigma code--the code used by Nazi Germany to mask all of their communications. For years the events surrounding the breaking of the Enigma code were kept secret by the British government, and Turing never received the public acclaim he should have.

In the film, Turing is portrayed as a man who wants to break the code because he sees it as a puzzle--and Turing is something of a puzzle himself. Benedict Cumberbatch plays Turing as an eccentric genius, and the actor knows something about eccentric geniuses, having become a cult figure due to his role as a 21st Century Sherlock Holmes on TV. Turing was also gay, which would cause horrible undeserved consequences for him after the war (the movie deals with this side of Turing's life in a understated, non-exploitative manner).

Turing's humanity is shown through his relationship with Joan Clarke (Keira Knightley), the only female belonging to the group of code-breakers Turing is in charge of. Turing and Clarke (at least in the film) have a special love for each other, not the usual one between a man and a woman, but a love nonetheless. Knightley's Clarke is a bit of a misfit herself (even though, because she's played by Keira Knightley, she looks gorgeous), and her fondness for the "odd duck" Turing makes the audience appreciate the man even more. Knightley is utterly delightful in this role, and she steals the film.

One would think that a movie about breaking a secret code would be rather dry, but director Morten Tyldum and screenwriter Graham Moore effectively dramatize the situation. I have to point out that this IS a dramatization--I checked out some facts about Alan Turing and the breaking of the Enigma code, and what really happened was a lot more complex (by the way, Joan Clarke didn't look anything like Keira Knightley). Every time a watch a film based on a "true story", and I look up the facts behind it, it's kind of like finding out that there's no Santa Claus or Easter Bunny.

Nevertheless, THE IMITATION GAME is a worthy film to see at the theater. It has a impressive supporting cast, including Rory Kinnear, Charles Dance, and Mark Strong. Some of the film was actually shot at the real Bletchley Park, where the Enigma code-breakers were based at. Benedict Cumberbatch gives one of the best acting performances of the year, and THE IMITATION GAME is one of the best films released recently.

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