The Imitation Game (Review)

Wonderfully computed, but lacking depth

by Kristina Aiad-Toss

In today’s ever-evolving world of technology, Morten Tyldum brings the film The Imitation Game, which takes audiences back to the roots of the machine age telling the story of the creation of the first computer. During World War II, the film follows Alan Turing's journey to break the Enigma Code, the form in which the Nazis communicated during WWII to conduct surprise attacks. Like the machine created by Turing, the movie possesses a mechanical quality, creating theatrical rhythm and attention to detail that ticks like a clock, while invigorating audience with an enticing plot and stellar cast of memorable characters.

The highlight of the film is the writing by Graham Moore, adapted from Andrew Hodges novel 'Alan Turing: The Enigma.' Although not groundbreaking, the screenplay possesses the right ingredients for this particular story and the film’s aim. Being economical without ever feeling like it is rushing or only scratching the surface, it constantly pummels the characters with adversity, presenting heart-wrenching moral dilemmas.

The Imitation Game
Directed by
Morten Tyldum
Cast
Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode
Release Date
25 December 2014
Kristina's Grade: B-


The adapted screenplay transforms complicated and bleak themes into a finished product that is quite lighthearted, especially with the casual approach to war outside of moments of justified despair. Although the plot was not entirely historically accurate, the execution of the storyline was performed very well. Masterfully told and encompassing a strong emotional complexity, the film is both engrossing and disturbing. The storyline is presented in a way that successfully communicates Turing’s revolutionary story and emotional struggle to the audience. However, some aspects of the narrative are told in conventional confines, furnishing the feature with a socially inept genius, a seemingly insurmountable problem, and the issues that result. However, this method of production is necessary toward portraying the story of Turing and still manages to capture the hearts of audiences.

In terms of character development, the film also focuses on Turing’s life achievements rather than his demise, but could have divulged into his character more deeply. Straying away from a linear structure, the film uses flashbacks to reveal Turing as a character and his story. Watching Turing’s schooldays seems rather extraneous, but fortunately the necessary scenes depicted in them and the performances of the young actors make them worthwhile. The scale is further enlarged with newsreel footage and images of war, providing a solid background for the events that unravel in the film.

With an exceptional script and an eclectic ensemble of characters, the film is accessible and somewhat familiar, but manages to be refreshing, stimulating emotion and thrills. Benedict Cumberbatch, as Turing, is emotionally engaging and utterly captivating. In his performance, a rehearsed quality is present, with every action executed and line spoken feeling perfectly placed rather than natural. However, this behavior aligns with the mechanistic tone of the film and adds greatly to Cumberbatch’s character Playing Turing’s counterpart, Keira Knightley gave an noteworthy portrayal of her character, Joan Clark. Although her role was lacking the highs and lows of Turing’s inner struggles, she makes the most of her sparing use and succeeds at becoming the heart of the film.

Thanks to Knightley’s superb acting, the relationship between Turing and is completely believable. Charles Dance, Mark Strong and especially Matthew Goode also demonstrated remarkable conviction in their roles, serving as dominating side presences bolstering the film's charm. Although the film is dense in character and plot, The Imitation Game shows off a great deal more on the surface than it offers beneath. Lively energy in the editing brings an instant gratification, leaving viewers on the edges of their seats with stunning sequences. The predominant aim of the film is not to be inspirational, deep, or even historically accurate, but is purely to provide an entertaining story to engage audiences. Overall, the film is poignant but not powerful and engaging but not enlightening.

3 Week Diet

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