Benedict Cumberbatch is playing a genius who is also terrible at social interactions, but stays at the job he works because he is so extremely valuable to the team but he isn’t Sherlock Holmes? I’m Linus Schill, and today I am going to be reviewing Benedict Cumberbatch’s 9th film in the past two years, The Imitation Game.
The moment I saw the first preview for The Imitation Game I was interested. I hardly knew a thing about Alan Turing, or his work to break the German Enigma Machine. I did some basic research on his life and became eager to see the movie. It really resonated with me finding out that rather than being honored for breaking the code, Turing was convicted for being gay.
The movie was pretty good in general. The most interesting part of the movie was in the middle of the film when they actually broke the code, with his other two timelines being significantly less compelling. Generally I don’t like biopics, I find it usually makes for a dull movie, but and at times this movie felt too much like a biopic which hurt my enjoyment of it. If the parts of the movie with Turing having to work with his team of code-breakers had been a larger part of the film I would have loved the movie. It was, however, important to show how his homosexuality was illegal in England at the time, and how he was convicted because of it. Rather than sprinkling in the scenes from the 1950s throughout the movie, I think it would have flown better as a story had it been at the end.
Another thing I thoroughly enjoyed about the movie was the code-breaking itself. The scenes when Turing was planning his machine and breaking the code reminded me of The Social Network when Mark Zuckerberg was writing the code for Facebook. It wasn’t complicated to the point of confusion, but just to the point where you understood exactly what they were trying to do. This happened again when Turing had to explain how Christopher worked in order to get his funding. It was not confusing at all but rather at a level where I felt like I understood it.
The acting by both Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley was phenomenal. I still think that Michael Keaton will win Best Actor in a Leading Role at the Academy Awards for Birdman, but I would not be shocked if Benedict Cumberbatch won instead. I have yet to see The Theory of Everything, so I cannot comment on how well Eddie Redmayne portrayed Stephen Hawking.
There were a number of clichés in this movie that pulled me out momentarily. When it looked like Turing was going to be fired, you had the classic “If you __ him you’ll have to __ me too”, and then everyone else says the same thing. And what would a good World War II movie be without old war footage peppered in throughout the sequences when it shows the actual war being fought, transitioning between scenes of the main characters doing something war related elsewhere in the world.
Overall the movie was very good. It was not my favorite movie of the year, nor was it the best movie of the year, but I still found a great deal of enjoyment out of it. On a scale of 1 – 10 I give it a 8 If it hadn’t suffered from being such a biopic I would have given it probably either a 9 or a 10. Thank you for reading my review of The Imitation Game, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley. I’m Linus Schill, and I’ll see you next time.