The Imitation Game Review
Based on a true story, The Imitation Game explores the life of Alan Turing, a mathematician hired by the British Government during WWII to break Enigma, a supposedly unbreakable code used by the Germans in their communications. The film follows Turing and his group as they attempt to solve Enigma while also jumping to events in Turing’s younger and later life.
The Imitation Game tells the story of many of the most defining points in Turing’s life, a life that contains both fascinating achievements and tragic elements. Facts aside, Turing’s life is fascinating and certainly worthy of an entire film. Much credit must go to Benedict Cumberbatch for his performance as Turing because he plays the character vibrantly and energetically. Turing comes across as very intelligent and yet naive and sometimes arrogant in his views. There is a danger that he could be perceived by audiences as unlikeable but Cumberbatch is excellent in the film, capturing the essence of a man who isn’t perhaps as well recognised as he should be.
The film occasionally shows sequences of wartime footage to set the period in context but this is far removed from what Turing and his team experienced during the war itself. The film does a good job of establishing the importance of Turing’s work despite much of the film being contained in Bletchley Park and the tension or frustration at the team’s failure is also amplified because of the enclosed setting. The plot is interesting and engaging throughout its running time and the supporting cast is also good in particular Keira Knightley as Joan Clarke and Charles Dance as Commander Denniston.
The only real problem is the film’s tendency to jump between different time periods beginning initially after Turing’s work, often looking backwards. While the film is never difficult to follow, this at times makes the film quite erratic and although some scenes give Turing some background it would have been better if there were a few more scenes focusing on Turing’s work on Enigma rather than the later police investigation of him in my opinion. There is also less focus on Turing’s actual work and its significance today but that is not the aim of the film, which is to give an impression of the life of Alan Turing.
Overall, The Imitation Game is a very entertaining and interesting film. Although ultimately the story of Alan Turing is somewhat tragic, Benedict Cumberbatch and a talented supporting cast manage to portray him in a dignified and respectful manner. Despite the sequence of events becoming a little too jumbled at times, The Imitation Game is an interesting insight into the life of Alan Turing.