“Are you paying attention?” “Are you listening?”
These are the questions asked at the beginning of the movie by the voice of Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch). We did not know much about this film coming into the theater as I did not view the trailer. We knew the context perspective of what the movie was going to be about but had no idea of the grand scale this subject matter held on the world. Based solely on the significance of the events depicted in this film, we should pay attention, we need to listen. And those who do will not be disappointed because this was a wonderfully made film.
The Imitation game tells the remarkable true story of Alan Turing and his team of code breakers and their attempts in breaking Nazi Germany’s Enigma encryption code. Turing is a certified genius in many fields and seems to understand an unbreakable code more than the people around him. The story is brilliantly segregated into three separate time frames with the director Morten Tyldum flashing back and forth between those times with great effectiveness. The three times periods told consist of Turing’s childhood, during the war, and the aftermath. The childhood scenes focus on Alan’s relationship with his lone friend Christopher. These scenes reveal a vast amount Cumberbatch’s character and how he turned into the person we see in later year. The years during the war and the actual cracking attempts at Enigma is the main event of this story. This section follows Alan and his team, which consists of Joan Clarke (Kiera Knightley), Hugh Alexander (Matthew Goode), among a few other lads. There are many elements explored during this time, Alan’s battle against the code, machine, and mainly humans. Turing admits many times during the film his inability to relate and understand other people which lead to many confrontations during the team’s mission. Turing later discovers his need for his co-workers to like him for them to reach their end goal and to defeat the Nazi’s. The last time period was 1951, so approximately six years after the war had ended. This part of the story, which is once again brilliantly wrapped with the two other time periods, follows detective Nock investigating what Turing was involved with during the war. To avoid spoilers we will refrain from saying anything else about this time period.
The real treasure of The Imitation Game is the first time writer, Graham Moore. Everything from the dialogue to the story-telling was written with extreme intellect. The scenes were intense and the conversations were crisp, all set up by Moore. Also, the acting was exceptionally done. Cumberbatch and Knightly both completely deserve their golden globe nominees (Which Moore received also). Cumberbatch pulls a Crowe (A Beautiful Mind), and turns an unlikely intellect into someone you can cheer and care for, while not compromising the character.
Final Thoughts: The Imitation Game is an expertly made film that deserves the hype. It hits the Triple Crown with great writing, acting and directing. From a cinematic perspective it seems like a nearly flawless film and a movie I would recommend to anyone. While we will say it is an entertaining movie our enjoyment is only so high because of the mixed moral message that we will not go into due to avoiding spoilers. There are some adult themes in this film and younger audiences should come in with caution, but overall is pretty family friendly.
If you were a fan of A Beautiful Mind, check this movie out.