Biographical films should always be handled with care. Portraying a subject’s life in an easily viewable way, not all facts are given. Some form of fiction is usually added to condense characters or events.
The Imitation Game has its share of half-truths. That shouldn’t take away from the power of the largely true-life tale. Loosely filmed before in 2001’s Enigma, The Imitation Game offers an interesting insight to a complex genius.
Determined to defeat Germany during World War 2, the British government tried all methods to win. Gifted scientist Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) offered hope. Using his skills to create a vital code-breaking machine, his services became crucial. Living as a closeted homosexual, his personal life often conflicted with his professional one. With pressure mounting, Turing’s methods impact on those around him with unforeseen consequences.
Deserved praise has gone to Cumberbatch for his tortured performance. The Imitation Game gives him much to work with as Turing’s life slowly unravels. Caught between doing his patriotic duty and having its laws turn on him creates engrossing drama. Morten Tyldum directs his cast with general sensitivity with the exploration of society’s attitudes towards homosexuality engaging. Flitting through Turing’s troubled life, Tyldum succeeds in showing some of the demons which drove him.
Detracting from The Imitation Game’s impact is the use of a stock-standard movie biography formula. A familiar trajectory is followed with Kiera Knightley’s role as one of Turing’s close friends feeling somewhat tokenistic. Facts and characters have been rearranged to fit typical cinematic convention, and surprises are only briefly forthcoming. Despite these drawbacks, The Imitation Game utilises Cumberbatch to good effect with much psychological intrigue to maintain interest.
A worthy investigation of an unsung war hero, The Imitation Game effectively shows the wars fought away from battlefields. It isn’t perfect but has enough to satisfy curiosity for any budding World War 2 boffin.
Reviewed by Patrick Moore
Rating out of 10: 7