The Imitation Game: Film Review

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I cannot fault this at all. It is such a beautiful film and Benedict Cumberbatch is absolutely brilliant as Alan Turing. I couldn’t believe that I didn’t know this story before and now I want everyone to know his contribution to the war effort and the injustice he suffered afterwards.

In this biopic, we watch Alan try to crack the German Enigma code to help the Allies win World War II. All of the German messages are encrypted and the code changes sequences every 24 hours so the team need to learn to work together and figure out a way to decrypt and foil the Germans’ plans.

It is quite a simple plot but you become so invested in the characters and their challenges. I love many aspects of it, from Joan Clarke’s (Keira Knightley) struggles with sexism in the workplace to the bond between her and Alan, the power struggle between Alan and team boss Hugh (Matthew Goode) and moral question of ‘who to save?’ once they’ve cracked it but can’t let the Germans know.

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Many reviewers have criticised this for glossing over the issue of Alan’s homosexuality. We don’t see any of his sexual behaviour, but you can tell how uncomfortable he is being in a relationship with Joan. I don’t think you need to see it. I found the ending so emotional and harrowing, I was actually glad the events post-war weren’t dwelled upon, but I can understand why critics would have wanted that period fleshed out more.

I found this so compelling – I soaked in everything and it was so interesting. I knew nothing about the Enigma code, the Bletchley Park team or Alan so I found it fascinating. It also isn’t the boring period drama you expect it to be, it is actually quite funny in places and although you know Alan his difficult, you can’t help but like him.

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The only downside was the CGI of war. The practical effects – of people hiding in the London underground and the war torn buildings – were great but the airplane bombing scenes were laughable because the CGI was so poor. I wasn’t sure if this was on purpose? I also thought jumping from present to future did not work, although I liked the jump between present and past because it informed us of Alan’s school days and his crush on a male friend. The past scenes were heartbreaking.

This is such an emotional film and I applaud you if you come out dry eyed. From the tragedy Alan faced as a school boy to the injustice he faces post-War, you just can’t help but weep and feel angry on his behalf. I found reading the on-screen summary of Alan’s life after the final scene really profound and it worked not seeing it onscreen. Cumberbatch needs a nomination for this and Knightley is also fantastic. I urge everyone to see this so they are more aware of Alan’s story.

 

Trackbacks

  1. […] This is still very fresh in my mind and has stuck with me because I cried so much. Benedict Cumberbatch is real-life World War II codebreaker Alan Turing who helps win the war by cracking the German Enigma code. But then he suffers a true injustice and is chemically castrated because he is gay. I was astounded by the story and very emotional afterwards! Read review here. […]

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