The Imitation Game

the-imitation-game-imdbTHE IMITATION GAME

Now the great thing about this time of year is that there are a ton of films that come out that will often be nominated for best picture at the Oscars. However, we, on a lot of occasions do need to wait a month or so to get most of these titles in Britain, but you will hear about the hype and you will go and see them when they come out and one film that seems to be getting a ton of hype is this weeks film, the ‘Imitation Game’.

This film is already tipped to be a front runner to potentially win best picture at the Oscars along with ‘Boyhood’, ‘Bird Man’ and ‘Selma’, and Benedict Cumberbatch has already been hyped to win an Oscar for his part in the film, so I felt it was necessary to check out the film when getting back into my reviews (plus it was a good excuse not to review ‘Hunger Games’). So after watching it, do I believe it matches up to its hype, you’d better believe it, this film matches up to the hype very much.

The films plot centres on telling the story of Alan Turing and his true life story of his attempts to break the enigma code and win World War 2. The film tells this story from 3 viewpoints, one taking place in 1928 when Turing was a younger man, one during the Second World War and one in 1951 around the time Turing was being investigated for reasons that are explained in the film, and I don’t want to spoil it for anyone. Now initially you get the sense that these three plot points are going to be difficult to follow and won’t transition well together, but it’s surprisingly easy to follow and works very well. All three points are told brilliantly and the cutting back between them works to create a satisfying whole. The film is paced almost perfectly and the story is really given the time to flow brilliantly. 

Needless to say this film’s story is brilliant, it will grip you throughout its running time. It’s never dull or boring and it never feels like it drags especially considering this film runs at 114 minutes which is much shorter than most films which are clearly aiming for an Oscar which can often have the issue of struggling to keep peoples attention for a long running time. The film also brilliantly gets people attached to the characters especially considering that these are all based on ‘real extraordinary people’, in recent history. This film’s story also has a ton of ‘heart’. I really get a sense that the Directors and the Writers really concentrated on telling a story that would brilliantly reflect these peoples lives and the fact that this story was pretty much “Classified” for 50 Years!, which is referenced very well by how secretive the operation is throughout the entire film and this secretive nature does not feel down like in some films that handle this sort of storyline. You feel the weight and necessity of this project! So, to sum up, this is an excellent story, it’s definitely at the minute, my vote for potentially winning best adapted screenplay at both the Oscars and the BAFTA’s.

Acting wise, well this film had several stand out performances, all of which I suspect we will be seeing a lot of come award season, but the big hype has been Benedict Cumberbatch’s role as the main character of Alan Turing. I will say going into this film I feared that Benedict Cumberbatch was becoming too typecast, seeing how a lot of his roles have become slightly samey, taking for example his performance as Julian Assange in The Fifth Estate, feeling very similar to his Sherlock performance, however, this film has given him a chance to shine and break away from a lot of those elements that may have caused this thought. He plays the role brilliantly, and whilst it does seem quite similar to his ‘Sherlock’ persona, he plays it differently enough that you’re not just seeing ‘Sherlock’ on screen, you are seen Alan Turing! He plays the character kind of similar to the idea of a serious version of ‘Sheldon’ from the ‘Big Bang Theory” initially, but there’s a lot more depth given to the character later on. He’s played rather like a character who is completely separated from society and living in his own world, but he has a thousand thoughts going on in a minute and you believe he can act upon them at any time, but he is also throughout the film learning to build on the relationships and trust people and that extra level of humanity that Benedict brings to the role through a few humorous lines here or there that really sells it.

I have no objection to Benedict Cumberbatch winning the Oscar for best actor, although my personal pick at this point in time is still Michael Fassbender for his role in Frank. As for the rest of the cast, well, they all do a brilliant job, there isn’t a bad performance in this movie. Keira Knightley starts off in a position where I thought I was going to have some negative thoughts about, but she gets much better throughout the film, and I loved her performance overall. It’s a breath of fresh air considering her performances in ‘Pride and Prejudice’ which left me feeling cold as well as questionable roles in ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ sequels. Matthew Goode does a very good role as fellow collaborator Hugh Alexander and you get a sense that he is a man that wants to do his duty but struggles to work with Alan Turing. Charles Dance does an excellent performance although he isn’t in the film as much as I would have liked him to have been, though I don’t know if it would have benefited much with his role being over exposed potentially. Whilst I am at it I also really enjoyed Mark Strong in this film, he’s really selling himself in this serious role which is kind of bizarre for me as I associate him with some of his more less serious or comedy roles such as his performance in ‘Kick Ass’. Overall this story was written very well is sold brilliantly by its cast and each one of them deserves special praise.

I would also, in this review, like to praise the film’s editing, the film does a brilliant job inter cutting the various time periods that the film takes place in, but it also shows the effect of World War 2 very well for its shots and it’s use of the stock footage. It’s also the only area where I found a negative to this film, which is, the scenes of warfare and the blitz left a lot to be desired. They weren’t bad per say, it’s just the ‘computer effects’ for them were quite obviously “computer effects” and I felt at times they would be better suited in a video game than an actual big budget film. As I said they aren’t bad, but they are kind of distracting and if it’s the only negative you have for this film then you know you could definitely do worse and the point kind of cancels itself out. Another brilliant positive aspect is the set design and the way the shots are produced. You will ‘believe’ that this film takes place in World War 2, this doesn’t feel like your average period drama and that is saying a lot considering that this is a film that has to sell the World War 2 setting using very little of actual battles or conflict. 

Now, Dr Buchan, who is Axia ASD’s Ltd Director did manage to get a day off and was interested enough in the film to go and see it with me, which I welcomed as I like getting different perspectives on the same film, but we came out with very similar thoughts on the film. Her position was that she loved the film, found it very thought provoking and without giving away spoilers found the ending very emotional. Which if I am honest I didn’t have as much of an emotional reaction with the end, not because I didn’t bond with the characters that much, I very much did, but because I had done my research on the man involved and knew where this was going, so there wasn’t much surprise or weight of ambiguity. I knew where this film was going because of my research, but it still on a lot of levels hit very hard. I am not going to give it away you’re just going to have to see the movie to find out what I mean. 

Do I have any really negative points, well actually NO!! This isn’t like ‘Pride’ where I really struggled and really pricked my brain to nit pick the film to find negatives. I really, apart from some of the computer shots to do with the battles can’t think of anything and to be honest most of my criticism’s of ‘Pride’ I probably would have taken out of that review in hindsight. But that’s how these sort of things often go when you are writing your reviews based on your initial thoughts.

To sum up. This film is gloriously good. I loved almost every second of it. It had excellent writing, an excellent cast and just was a delight to sit through on a lot of levels. If this film is not nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars it is doing itself an injustice. If you haven’t been to the pictures to see this, then go and see it. Hell if you don’t want to go to the cinema to, then get this on DVD as soon as it comes out. It is excellent and Benedict Cumberbatch is really going places with his acting career. It makes me glad that he had been cast as Dr Strange in the upcoming Marvel movie and he has also been cast as Shere Khan in the Jungle Book remake, so we the audience are winning all the way. 

If you agree or disagree on this film and my opinion, please feel free to leave a comment it’s great to get a discussion going, we accept all opinions, all points, no matter how long or brief they are.

Well I’m afraid we are going to have to take a slightly longer period to get the next review out as Axia is going on it’s Christmas Holiday for a bit, but I’m not waiting a long time for the next review. 

Check back on the site on December 31st when I’ll be reviewing Tim Burton’s latest film ‘Big Eyes’. If you want to go and see the film before my review, it comes out in cinemas on December 26th, and trust me, I think this is going to be a good one. Also check out that review if you want to get details on how to add your own reviews, discussion or top ten lists to the site. We will be giving you all the details that you need and explaining exactly what we are looking for.

Thanks for reading my review. I hope you’ll return to the website in the future.

Calvin – Nerd Consultant

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7 comments on “The Imitation Game
  1. Ronnie Hunt says:

    The Imitation Game was a flat OK for me Charles Dance and Keira knightly were very good But the film was to corny reminding me of some of the 1950s corny films DId not like the film jumping to different time periods during the film.

    • Calvin says:

      hey ronnie

      many thanks for the comments I can really see your point

      my argument would be that by shifting the time periods it adds to the drama and story structure and to cut that aspect and show in a linear fashion or to not have the time skips at all would take away from the film though I can see the potential for confusion

  2. Rob Wood says:

    I first heard of Alan Turing in the late 70s in the context of his work on Turing machines, the Halting problem, and the so-called Turing Test or “Imitation Game” for diagnosing whether or not a machine can think.

    Since that time Turing’s work on breaking the Enigma Code has been declassified and the part he, along with others at Bletchley Park, played in the Allied victory over Nazi Germany has become quite well known, as has the shameful persecution he endured for his homosexuality from the very State that he had done so much to save.

    This film is a very good encapsulation of his story, showing his difficulties in forming everyday relationships, his extraordinary insights, and his ability to focus with great intensity and persistence on intellectual problems.

    Given that the film has to convey so many complexities – to give a list of examples the shape of Turing’s life, the importance of his wartime work, his groundbreaking work in the theory and creation of computing, and his emotional and romantic difficulties – and that the script has to cut corners, simplify scientific and philosophical theories, and create dramatic fictions to tell the tale of Turing’s personal life in the limited screen time available, it does a very good job of making comprehensible these complexities to a general audience without oversimplifying the science or distorting Turing’s biography too much.

    And while achieving all this the film remains narratively gripping, often exciting, intellectually and morally fascinating, and sometimes profoundly sad.

    Turing is very convincingly played by Benedict Cumberbatch and the acting of all the players is excellent but Keira Knightley is particularly notable – gone is the woodenness and one-dimensionality of her early films, she’s now a very convincing actor with a great deal of range.

    One little quibble – having read Andrew Hodge’s biography of Turing “The Imitation Game” on which this film is largely based, and having read other material on Turing over the years, I think this film portrays Turing as being more dysfunctional than he actually was. Turing is often listed as someone who in hindsight probably suffered from Asperger’s Syndrome and the depiction of him in this film tends a little too much towards so-called “Hollywood Autism” presenting Turing as a cold fish, extremely literal,socially inept to the point of being very rude, and very hard to get along with because of his quirks.

    Biographical materials suggest instead that although quirky he was liked and respected by the people with whom he worked.

    There’s one particular chilling moment in the film when Turing’s aspie clarity and logic make him able to recognise a “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few” dilemma that others have missed and he has to make an very difficult and lethal choice – I won’t plot-spoil, you’ll recognise it when you see it.

    There’s another scene I found personally affecting, when he stands perplexed and baffled observing a couple flirting – I’m Aspie too and I’ve had this very perplexing experience myself and that short scene moved me more than any other in the film, to the degree that I felt my throat constrict and tears begin to well.

    All in all a very good bio-pic and like the reviewer on this blog I very much recommend it.

    And it’s one of those films that shouldn’t suffer at all from being viewed on a TV rather than a cinema screen.

    • Calvin says:

      Thank you Rob for you’re detailed and insightful comments to which i simply have nothing to add we came out with same reaction and it was enjoyable to read.

      we would really welcome you doing more of this for our user content reviews in the new year which were giving details on 31st december. looking forward to hopefully hearing more from you in the future.

  3. Rob Wood says:

    Oops! where I typed “logic male” in my comment above, I meant to type “logic make” – apologies for my boo-boo.

  4. Calvin says:

    congratulations to Graham Moore on winning best adapted screenplay at the oscars for this brilliant film. I believe his victory speech was the best of the night and something people who feel downtrodden and unheard should watch see if you can find on youtube.

  5. Anna says:

    I just watched this with my family. My Dad was a bit of pain asking “why does it keep jumping in time?” so I think some people might find it hard to follow but I loved it.

    My heart breaks throughout the entire movie because I know what’s going to happen, it was very emotional. I think Alan Turing must have had Autism, although, perhaps that’s the the way he was portrayed?

    Alan Turing is such an inspirational man and it breaks my heart that so many people were treated in that way. Amazing film, I would highly recommend it!

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