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Friday, 16 January 2015

Imitation Game

The toughest movies to review are those that leave you enamoured.  I saw Imitation Game last Saturday and over the past 6 days I have been thinking about whether I was blown away by the person called Alan Turing or the actor called Benedict Cumberbatch or was it the story and the narrative that eventually turned into an end product called The Imitation Game.


At this point I have decided to not over analyze it and just write about what I believed made The Imitation Game one of the best movies of 2014.  It was a combination of all that I mentioned in the previous paragraph and some more aspects that I will try to capture over the remainder of this review.

To begin with, dig deep enough into either World War or history for that matter and you will find several stories that are, to put it mildly, fascinating.  Alan Turning’s 41 years on mother earth were nothing short of sensational and I am only surprised that it took someone over 60 years to translate it onto the big screen.  But then again most documents related to the story were declassified only in this century.

We then come to the narrative which begins with a young Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) who gets offered a position with the Royal Navy at the ripe old age of 27.  The narrative shuttles between Turing as a Mathematician and his life in school.  The former involves cracking the dreaded Nazi code machine called Enigma.

It also delves into his relationship with Joan Clarke (Kiera Knightley) and the eventual acceptance of his homosexuality.  His school life brings to the fore the manner in which Turing developed a keen interest in cryptography and of course his best friend and first love – Christopher.

The sensitivity with which Morten Tyldum has handled the entire narrative is superb.  At no point during the movie do you find anything offensive and that makes it watchable with just a PG certification.  It throws up several instances where complex decisions have to be taken and breaks down the thought process behind the eventual decision which makes it easy viewing as well.

There is appropriate emphasis on the complex process of cryptography but not at an obsessive level that can be understood only by the geeks of the world but enough to keep the geeks involved.  Ditto for the mushy aspects.  The entire mix seems to be just right to address an extremely wide audience.

And bringing all of this to life is a stellar cast led by Benedict Cumberbatch as Turing (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0OFYK7k5ivA). Kiera Knightley is supremely confident and effortless.  The support cast comes together seamlessly, led by Charles Dance as Commander Denniston and Mark Strong as MI6 agent Stewart Menzies.

Don’t miss the first 15 minutes of the movie because that’s what sets it all up with stellar acidic British humour between Turing and Dance.  A small part towards the end involves a young Turing (Alex Lawther) being told that his best friend is no more.  Lawther’s performance is about a minute long but will blow you off your seats.  Definitely deserves an honourable mention if not a nomination somewhere.  8.5 on 10 for the movie.  DO NOT MISS!!!

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