Benedict has won “The Imitation Game” (2014.)


First biography of Alan Turing that I’ve ever seen was “Breaking The Code” starring Derek Jacobi in the nineties. After that followed “Enigma” in 2001 but both of those adaptations were lacking in certain aspects of film-making and didn’t do justice to the character of brilliant mathematician and cryptographer Alan Turing. Some reviews argue that “The Imitation Game” doesn’t do that either, but I would say that as a work of art “The Imitation Game” functions perfectly and it is one of the best films in 2014. Brilliance of the film was obvious to me when I realized that I simultaneously watch three films instead of one. Three story-lines that are apart as three different films but in the same time so closely connected and important for the main character. We have insecure Turing as a kid, we have brilliant Turing during the war and we have humiliated and washed up Turing in years after the war. All three characters are equally important for understanding of the genius and his legacy.

In spite of review mentioned and linked earlier I’m not sorry that I didn’t closely knew the real background of the character, and I was not so concerned with historical accuracy. One important difference must be pointed out. Alan Turing was humiliated and chemically castrated in the last part of his life, but today about that same Turing we’re making movies and when we think of him, we think of him as mathematical genius not as a homosexual. That’s a lot if you ask me. Cumberbatch’s interpretation of Turing does him justice. If it is polished a bit, so be it. I look at that as compensation for all historical injustice he suffered. I was joking with my girlfriend after the film ended that we will think of him as new Galileo in 300 years or so. If that would be the case, then Tydlum’s film will be important part of the myth.

Charles Dance, Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knigtley and Matthew Goode are all important parts of the Turing’s puzzle in the movie, and Rory Kinnear is just passive judge that has to make a decision for all of us: Is the story told to us worth of admiration or judgment? Role of the judge is, as we all know, the hardest because some things are not so easily judged. Turing ask a question to his examiner: am I guilty or am I a hero; am I a man or am I a machine? That parallel and the one of Turing and his beloved “Christopher” is often criticized by the Turing fandom. However, in the movie context that metaphor is important one. In building his machine, Turing almost became one. He tried to shut his humanity down. He succeeded more often than not, and when everything was over, when he was not needed anymore whatever of that humanity was left to him was taken away. Great reward, isn’t it?

As far as the other actors go, Charles Dance in the role of antagonist was great but he suddenly disappeared after Enigma was cracked. Pity, it would be interesting to see his reaction to Turing’s public disgrace after the war. Also, some relationships between the characters were very loosely built. It would seem that relationship between Turing and Hugh Alexander was fixed by one apple. Parody on the Trojan War that started because of one?

I’m not sure what to think about Keira’s performance. Joan Clarke connected the dots of the movie but I was not convinced in that character’s emotions as I was in Turing’s, Denniston’s or Alexander’s. She was the weakest link of the great acting performance throughout the movie.

Director Morten Tydlum made this movie very enjoyable and cuts between periods were masterfully made. I watched “Headhunters” made by same director and I can tell that he’s progressing with every movie. That makes me curious about his next film. He is definitely on my list of the directors that  need to be closely watched in the future. To summarize, “Imitation Game” is one of the best movies in 2014. With “Whiplash” one of my personal favorites in the Awards season (I still have to watch “Birdman”). It will be interesting to see who will win between Cumberbatch and Redmayne (Keaton?) as far as leading male performances go. Awards aside, “Imitation game” is movie that I highly recommend.




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