The Imitation Game has garnered the reputation as one of the best films of 2014. I constantly hear people talking about just how wonderful it is. So naturally, I decided to check it out for myself.
The Imitation Game stars Benedict Cumberbatch as a socially awkward mathematician named Alan Turing hired by the British government to break the Enigma Code. The Enigma Code was a secret cryptic language used by the Germans in World War II to send secret messages among themselves. Turing and his colleagues worked feverishly to invent a machine that could understand this code. As we follow Turing along this difficult journey, we also begin to learn about his unfortunate past.
My initial reaction was for the most part positive. I had a few issues with where the plot went, but other than that I enjoyed my experience.
Out main cast consisting of Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightly, and Charles Dance all did well acting in The Imitation Game. I wasn’t as impressed with Cumberbatch’s character as everyone else in the world seemed to be. He played a very quirky genius that didn’t understand humor and would get very cocky. I’ve seen a lot of protagonists like this before, and his just wasn’t that special to me. That being said, I thought Cumberbatch’s acting was phenomenal. Cumberbatch really became the character for this role, and my mind was convinced it was looking at the real Alan Turing and not just a guy pretending to be.
About halfway through the film is the point where my level of interest began to wane. I think The Imitation Game picked up too many subplots, bogging it down. We deal with Alan’s homosexuality, his relationship with his wife, and the shady things going on with his new friends.
The main plot point gets solved surprisingly early in the film, so we transition the focus on a couple smaller plot points that I just named above. Ones that I wasn’t quite as invested in because the film mostly focused on solving the Enigma Code the first hour. Therefore the second half felt less focused and a little more scattered. I much preferred the more focused first half of The Imitation Game.
The film even throws in some moral ambiguity a little past the halfway point. It introduces the idea of sacrifices in a war. The idea of allowing small amounts of innocent civilians here and there to die to ultimately win the war (thereby saving the world from tyranny) is a fascinating topic. I love when a film like The Imitation Game really makes you think where you stand morally. A ‘what kind of choices would you make’ kind of thing.
For a guy like me who loves historical fiction films, The Imitation Game was an enriching experience. I would recommend The Imitation Game to others who like historical fiction, or enjoy when a film tackles controversial subject matter. The quality of the performances and the meaningfulness of Alan Turing’s story is enough to bring audiences in droves. Even though I had some issues with it, I think The Imitation Game is a good film with good intentions.
The Verdict: B