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The Imitation Game

Imitation Game-Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Benedict Cumberbatch, Allen Leech All the parts fit together—like the hand-forged computer at
the center of the story—in The Imitation
Game
, a thoroughly absorbing film based on the life of Alan Turing, who
helped crack the notorious German enigma code during World War II. All the right
ingredients are here in perfect measure: a fascinating narrative, a superlative
cast, and a vivid sense of time and place.

I can’t imagine anyone better suited to the role of the
brilliant but socially awkward, sexually repressed mathematician than Benedict
Cumberbatch. He elicits our empathy even as he alienates the people around him,
because Graham Moore’s screenplay (and Cumberbatch’s performance) set him up so
well as an underdog-hero. We first meet him in 1951 when he arouses the suspicion
of a local police detective in Manchester, then witness his recruitment by the
British government at the beginning of the war, and finally flash back to his
youth and the incidents at school that helped shape the man he would become.
The film then seamlessly hopscotches back and forth in time, never losing its
sense of purpose or leaving us confused; that in itself is quite a feat.

Benedict Cumberbatch-Keira Knightley

In his English-language debut, Norwegian director Morten
Tyldum (who made the equally intricate Jo Nesbø thriller Headhunters), confidently realizes every bit of drama, suspense,
humor, and character nuance in Graham Moore’s canny screenplay. How closely
does the movie resemble the real-life incidents it depicts? I have no way of
knowing. I just know that the material has been shaped into an extremely
satisfying piece of entertainment.

Cumberbatch is surrounded by expert players, including Keira
Knightley as the only woman smart enough to be part of the code-breaking team
at Bletchley Park, and such talented actors as Matthew Goode, Rory Kinnear, Charles
Dance, and Mark Strong. There are no colorless parts in this beautifully
crafted film. The story also benefits from a propulsive score by the brilliant
and versatile Alexandre Desplat.

The Imitation Game
is one of those rare movies I could happily watch again, to savor its
performances and digest the provocative story all over again. It is certainly
one of the year’s finest films.

 

4 comments

  1. Rich Lewis says:

    The Pole cryptographers were important by breaking an early form of an Enigma used by the German army. But by 1940, their process wouldn’t have stood much chance against the later more complicated Enigma machine used by the German Navy, especially when the codes were changed daily. The Allies needed a system that could decode Enigma codes in the shortest possible time. Enter Alan Turing

  2. Allan Schneider says:

    As a student of cryptology and world War II Intelligence history I can say that the comments by Mr. Chobry are true in all respects. And can be verified in by almost all of the serious scholarship on the subject .

    I am also of partial polish descent. I do not see an anti Polish intent here but merely sloppy homework in the develoment of the script.

  3. Chrobry says:

    In the production of any imitation, there is always omission. Here, the truth is omitted the script when Denniston says to Turing – "The French, the Russians, and the Americans have failed to crack the code." First of all, the Russians were the enemy at the time, because they were allied with Nazi Germany. Secondly, but more importantly, the Poles who cracked the Enigma as early as 1932 and were reading German transmissions until mid-1939 were completely omitted. "Wonderful recognition and gratitude" to the Poles, too, for passing on reverse-engineered Enigma machines, the Polish "bomba," Zygalski sheets, and mathematical formulae to the French and British only six weeks before Germany’s invasion of Poland. As a Pole by soul and biology, I wish to speak on behalf of my people and say that we can differentiate between rain and spit, especially when it follows continued slaps in the face by film makers with an anti-Polish agenda.

  4. KAC says:

    The screenwriter is Graham Moore, not Jason Moore

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