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The Imitation Game - Film Review

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by Jamie Briggs (subscribe)
You can follow me on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube @Jamiex66.
The Imitation Game is a masterpiece
The Imitation Game is based on the book Alan Turing: The Enigma written by Andrew Hodges. Centered on the life of mathematician Alan Turing, played by Benedict Cumberbatch (Star Trek, The Hobbit). Turing was one of the key individuals tasked to crack Nazi Germany's Enigma code during the Second World War. The Enigma code contained every planned attack, every key piece of information and every strategy the Nazis had planned. The code would reset at midnight each day, making it an extremely difficult code to crack.

Humans could not physically check each sequence of possible code within each 24 hour period in order to crack Enigma, which is why Turing designed a machine in order to do what humans couldn't.

Turing is recruited alongside a handful of Britain's best scholars, mathematicians, linguists and more in order to attempt to crack the Enigma. The film is portrayed throughout a series of flashbacks that showcase Turing's time as a young man attending Bletchley Park Boarding School, his time working with the British Government and many key moments throughout his life.

One of these key moments is meeting an English cryptanalyst Joan Clark, who is played by Keira Knightley (Star Wars, Pirates of the Caribbean). Clark is held back from achieving her true potential due to society's lack of equality between male and females, though Turing looks past these inconsequential qualities and recruits Clark to help crack Enigma. The two form the strongest relationship throughout The Imitation Game, one that was genuinely portrayed and beautiful to watch.

"Benedict Cumberbatch's performance steals the show,"

Cumberbatch and Knightley are a perfect ensemble with both individuals providing great performances and having great chemistry. The care both characters felt for one another resonated off screen, with any conflict the two faced between one another breaking my heart as I continued to root for these two individuals. Turing and Clark's relationship is unique due to Turing's homosexuality, which meant each person respected and cared for the other in a unique way. Yet they find common ground in order to help one another crack the Enigma code in order to save lives.

Benedict Cumberbatch's performance steals the show, right from the first word. The Imitation Game begins with an impactful and well delivered monologue setting up the film's narrative and focus on Alan Turing. Cumberbatch doesn't stop there as his performance as the awkward-loner Turning allowed me to become lost in the performance, believing in the character and finding myself emotionally attached very quickly.

Proof of this is when Turing's creation is about to be taken away, this scene is spectacular. Turing begins by trying in his own unique way to keep government officials from his creation, before his emotions are let loose when they forcefully barge their way in to stop the project. This didn't feel like I was watching a performance where a man was about to lose a machine, it felt like I was watching a father losing his one true child. This scene is striking, powerful and genuinely emotional.

The Imitation Game continues to provide powerful scenes during Turing's time at Bletchley Park. Turing endured a tough high school live due to his awkward personality, opening the door for bullying and abuse. Yet Turing befriends a young man named Christopher, who together helps Turing find happiness. Turing's homosexuality is also at its most prominent during these scenes, as both young men slowly find their friendship is more than mere friends. These scenes are beautiful and showcase the strength of love.

Alan Turing, Joan Clark
"Cumberbatch and Knightley are a perfect ensemble"

Alan Turing's life helped save the lives of hundreds, but due to the secrecy of war and the unbridled cruelty showcased towards homosexuals during World War II, Turing's brilliance was never truly realised. It's sad to think that such a brilliant mind dealt with such hardship due to a world hell bent on criminalising homosexuality. Though this movie showcases the brilliance of Turing, it also left me happy to see the world is slowly moving on from these ancient views, where we treat individuals the same no matter their choice in such arbitrary details.

The Imitation Games tells a brilliant story of a great man that changed the world, though received little acknowledgement. I found myself engrossed throughout the almost 2 hour run time, easily making it one of my favourite films in recent memory. Those wanting a strong dramatic film that doesn't rely on the typical action set pieces of war to tell a powerful moments of war will find The Imitation Game a true masterpiece.
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