Sunday, 10 July 2016

The Imitation Game

Year:  2014
Director:  Morten Tyldum
Screenplay:  Graham Moore, based on the book Alan Turing:  The Enigma by Andrew Hodges
Starring:  Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Rory Kinnear, Mark Strong, Charles Dance
Running Time:  114 minutes
Genre:  Period drama, thriller, war

This film is a historical drama based on the life of mathematician Alan Turing (Cumberbatch), who was the head of the team of code-breakers at Bletchley Park who worked to decrypt the German Enigma codes for the British Government during the Second World War.  The movie moves back and forth between three key periods in Turing's life: His time at boarding school in the 1920s, where the teenage Turing (Alex Lawther) first develops an interest in codes and finds respite from frequent bullying in his close friendship with a fellow pupil (Jack Bannon); his downfall in 1951 where he is arrested for "gross indecency" due to his homosexuality (which was a criminal offence at the time); and, by far the most extensive section of the film, his wartime experience trying to decode the Enigma codes.

I don't know much at all about the life of Alan Turing or how historically accurate the film is, so I'm going to be talking about the film as a drama.  However I have heard that it is not particularly true to the facts of the story.  However it works as a drama.  It is well made, well acted  particularly by Benedict Cumberbatch as Turing, and Keira Knightley as fellow code-breaker Joan Clarke.  It also does well at making Turing's work as accessible and possible for the general audience.  The recreation of the 1940s is fascinating.  The difficulty with a lot of biopics is that they can tend towards shapelessness, but this film structures it as a compelling thriller.  There could have been more about the tragedy of Turing's later life, however, if it encourages people to learn more about a man who has pretty much shaped our lives today with his contributions to computer science, and a shameful period in the history of LGBT rights, than it is a success.

 Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch  in The Imitation Game


  1. It looks pretty interesting. I tried to find it on Netflix, but it's only available for DVD. Ah, well. I tried.

    1. Hopefully it will get on Netflix at some point. It is a good movie!