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The Imitation Game – Review


Release Date: 14th November 2014
Director: v
Writer: Andrew Hodges [Book] - Graham Moore [Screenplay]
Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch - Keira Knightley - Matthew Goode - Allen Leech - Charles Dance - Mark Strong - Rory Kinnear



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Posted October 26, 2014 by

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The Imitation Game Review:

Morten Tyldum’s biographical drama begins with a Prestige-esque “Are you paying attention” voiceover that’s beautifully spoken in the cut British accent of Benedict Cumberbatch. The rest, as they say, is history – and quite literally in fact.

Based on the novel “Alan Turing: The Enigma” by Andrew Hodges, The Imitation Game is a quaint character portrait that reveals how one man’s innovation swayed the outcome of World War Two.

Cumberbatch plays the witty and very literal Alan Turing, a British maths prodigy and cryptographer whose algorithm is way ahead of his time. On a blank canvas, Cumberbatch paints Turing as a high-functioning narcissist with an aptitude for pissing people off; an odd duck who prefers to work alone, who’s at constant loggerheads with authority and who totally abandons normality; a guy who operates as an outsider but who’s very humanised by the social experience; a guy who’s very, well Sherlockian (just don’t tell Batch). That’s not to say he swirls around in a coat with curly hair demonstrating his own brilliance, but you know what I mean.

Head of Government Code and Cypher School Commander Alexander Denniston (Charles Dance) recruits Turing and a special cohort of code-breakers to crack Enigma; an impossibly well-designed device used by the Germans to send cryptic messages during the war. When Turing realises that only a machine can defeat another machine, he constructs an electrical brain that, once operational, is “like having a tap on Himmler’s intercom”.

Graham Moore’s terrifically terse screenplay flits fluently between multiple periods of Turing’s life: the daily grind of Bletchley Park’s cryptanalysts as they struggle to break Enigma; Turing’s post-war arrest for charges of sexual indecency; and flashbacks to school days and the hardships of growing up against the grain.

Joined by the likes of Mark Strong and Keira Knightley (whose delightful rendition of Joan Clarke helps ground the narrative’s concerns on gender inequality), Benedict Cumberbatch remarkably breathes life into an unsung British hero.


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Anthony Lowery
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