Much of “The Imitation” Game takes place during the second World War and focuses on the work of British mathematician Alan Turing (Cumberbatch).
Despite the film centering on Turing’s work in World War II, though, the audience is also given a look into two other time periods. The period of time with Turing as a young man and the decade following the war to show what happened to him.
For the most part, however, “The Imitation Game” is all about Turing’s work with a team of other intellectuals to crack the code used by the German armed forces as well as Turing trying to deal with the fact that he is gay during a time when being a homosexual isn’t just looked down upon, but is out right illegal.
“Game” works on multiple levels since it tackles a variety of topics. The movie pulls off showing the terrible events that come with war, the intelligence side of battle and the emotion that one feels for being different all very well. All of these themes are handled with a solid amount of dramatic flair which creates a very compelling picture.
Also working in the film’s favor was the use of flash forwards and flashbacks to tell the story. Non-linear story-telling doesn’t always work but it manages to excel here. The breaks in the movie to other points of Turing’s life keep the story interesting and can hold an audiences attention.
The only flaw as the film goes on is that, cinematically, it is quite simple. There were never any moments style-wise that set it apart with other biopics. It wasn’t a problem that made the movie bad, per se, but the picture could have benefited from being more artistic.
Benedict Cumberbatch is a reliable actor and does a good job usually in whatever he stars in, in this movie though, he is even better. This is one of Cumberbatch’s better performances and he should get a nomination for an Academy Award. One emotionally heart wrenching scene towards the end of the film, for example, really shows the acting capabilities that he brings to the table.
Keira Knightley was also fantastic in the movie and has shown this year with both this film and “Begin Again” in the summer that she is one of the better actresses in the industry right now. Knightley works very well on screen with Cumberbatch and her performance has a good balance between the intelligent, code breaking side of the character and the more emotional side.
A weaker part of the film came from Charles Dance as Commander Denniston, though. The character was played in a way that made him seem so harsh and negative towards Turing and the intelligence operation that it came off as unrealistic.
Overall, “The Imitation Game” is a movie that took a good look at a man who was both responsible for today’s computer, served his country and became a war hero who was completely wronged by his own nation because of who he was. Sure, the movie has the standard look that most biopics have and not all the performances work, however, this movie is still worth seeing for the well made portrayal of a variety of subjects and is backed up by Oscar caliber performances. 4 out of 5.