johnlink ranks THE IMITATION GAME (2014)

Alan Turing is known, now, for cracking the Enimga code and for his famous test which determines wether something is human or artificially intelligent. THE IMITATION GAME tells his story, one which is sadly underemphasized by history.


I watched THE IMITATION GAME (2014) on 3.23.15. It was my first viewing of the film.

THE IMITATION GAME is the story of Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch). It bounces between his schoolboy days, his World War II math hero days, and his 50s suspect days. These are three distinct people. The first is a young boy discovering both his genius and his homosexuality, the middle era is a cocky man who knows his intelligence and has no patience for fools, and his later years show a broken man unable to cope with a world which knows neither his needs nor his accomplishments.

This is a film which ably tells an amazing story. Turing is a tragic hero, both a savior of millions and a decider of fates. He is a man whose ego may have cost his team time, but whose genius ultimately proved vital to the success of the Allies in World War II. It would have been nice, in the first act and a half, to see more of the math and science and day-to-day goings on of the team. Instead, we are kept at arm’s length as Turing works on his machine and his team works on seemingly meaningless minutiae. What make Turing’s machine tick? It would be great to know. But we don’t get that access.

That omission doesn’t make the movie uninteresting. He finds an ally in Joan Clarke (Keira Knightley) who serves as both mathematical sounding board and less-than-romantic coupling option. THE IMITATION GAME, as its title implies, starts out as a movie which masks its hero’s homosexuality, then forgives it, then embraces it, then mystifies it. Because Turing’s demise is so intimately tied to his sexual preference, this is a movie which isn’t afraid to make the audience aware of the injustice of the past. That THE IMITATION GAME puts equal weight on Turing’s heroism and his sexuality may seem to undermine how uncategorically heroic he was, but it is hard to blame the filmmakers for emphasizing his sexuality so much since it is a major factor in determining why Turing is merely a footnote in the traditional World War II story.

It is easy to leave THE IMITATION GAME slightly underwhelmed. Sure, the acting is solid, the story is epic, and the pace is smart. But this feels like a more epic story than we ultimately get. The tragedy of Turing is a major focus, and it is understandable why. But his living accomplishments are not as clear as maybe they could have been. This is movie about a man, rather than a man’s accomplishments. But in making it about his tragic demise, the movie doesn’t quite do his accomplishments justice. This is a worthwhile movie, a solid movie, and a necessary movie. But the lingering feeling is that it could have been more.




FINAL SCORE: 6.5 out of 10

~ by johnlink00 on March 23, 2015.

One Response to “johnlink ranks THE IMITATION GAME (2014)”

  1. A bit too old-fashioned and simple for my tastes at times. But still worthy of seeing for Knightley and Cumberbatch’s performances alone. Nice review John.

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