Friday, January 2, 2015

The Imitation Game

Movie Name: The Imitation Game
Year of Release: 2014
Director: Morten Tyldum
Stars: Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Charles Dance, Mark Strong, Rory Kinnear, Allen Leech, Matthew Beard, James Northcote, Steven Waddington, Jack Tarlton, Alex Lawther, Jack Bannon
Genre: Drama
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 6

"The Imitation Game" has the distinct story of having started as the top listed screenplay from the Black List of 2011 (this list is comprised of the best unproduced screenplays in Hollywood). The film follows the story of brilliant mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst and pioneer computer scientist Alan Turing, who during World War II, worked alongside a team of brilliant decoders, to crack the code of Nazi Germany's transmissions (that used the machine Enigma to encrypt their communications). Turing is portrayed as a brilliant man, without many social skills, but persistent and ingenious. He is met with resistance from the established military hierarchy, but manages to hire people whom he believes are the best in the field to assist him, namely Joan Clarke who becomes a close friend. Turing devises the creation of a machine to decrypt the messages being sent (laying ground for what became modern computers), and after much effort, that effectively becomes a reality. After the end of the War, Turing becomes a college professor, until his homosexuality makes him a target for persecution and he's mandated to undergo chemical castration
Director Morten Tyldum became more visible to audiences with "Headhunters", which made the list of best foreign films in 2011, for many different critics and awards groups. "The Imitation Game" manages to give insight into the mind of a brilliant man, though the screenplay takes quite a few liberties with the historical and biographical elements of a complex individual. The film benefits from a fantastic production design, which successfully depicts the time frame and hardship being suffered in England during wartime. The cinematography is equally stunning, as is the score from Alexandre Desplat. The film also features a great performance from Benedict Cumberbatch, who embodies Turing as a man with a passion, longing, energy and also some eccentricities (attributed to his genius). The film however never amounts to much more than a brief insight into the life of someone who is iconic in his own right- the director doesn't really shed any further light into who this remarkable person was, and the film itself is almost like a well mounted BBC production, without any real edges or controversy (at the end, there's no particular point of view here). The opposing voices of Turing are all given a muted existence, and fade away when the need for conflict is non existent. This is a film that lives from good intentions, from great production values and a good cast, but ultimately fails in shedding light into the life of someone who was indeed brilliant, but was also a target of persecution and was indeed humane (with all that it entails).