Review: The Imitation Game

Kiera Knightly and Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game

The Imitation Game stars Benedict Cumberbatch as English mathematician and logician, Alan Turing. Turing helped crack the Enigma machine, a Nazi encryption device. He developed a code breaking machine which has come to be known as the computer.

Spoilers ahead.

Benedict Cumberbatch next to an early computer
Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing stands next to his “Turing machine.”

Cumberbatch gives a brilliant performance. He’s absolutely flawless as this graceless, socially inept, mathematical genius who was a marathon runner and a closeted homosexual.

The team watches the puzzle be solved for the first time.
Cracking the Enigma machine.

Others starring in The Imitation Game are Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Allen Leech, and Matthew Beard as the team at Bletchly Park who worked together to crack the Enigma machine. Charles Dance plays the commander and Rory Kinnear plays the detective whose decision to prosecute Turing for homosexuality probably led to his death.

Alex Lawther plays the young Turing. He gives an excellent performance of Turing as a schoolboy. By peering into Turing’s past, it helps the audience see how so many things that happened were the way they were.

The  movie starts in 1951 and jumps between that time, the World War II years, and Turing’s school days.

For anyone interested in computers (and who isn’t) this movie is a must see. Additionally, it’s an excellent rendering of an important historical period, complete with film from the time. The film looks at what it means to be different, to not fit in, and to be forced to hide what you are for fear of imprisonment.

There’s a nice interview with screenwriter Graham Moore on Deadline.

I published a somewhat different version of this review on my blog Web Teacher.

Images ©Black Bear Pictures

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