The Imitation Game

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  • The Imitation Game

    This awards-season biopic tells the story of English mathematician Alan Turing, who led the British codebreaking team at Bletchley Park during WWII. The team was responsible for cracking the (supposedly) unbreakable Enigma cypher machine, which was used to encode all Nazi military radio transmissions. Without the ability to decode those messages, Britain and the Allies would be at the mercy of Hitler's deadly U-Boats in the North Atlantic and Luftwaffe raids over England.

    Benedict Cumberbatch plays Turing, a role removed from his Aspergian Sherlock Holmes only by degrees. Kiera Knightley is the Londoner who Turing recruits onto the Bletchley team and becomes something of a protege as they work together to solve the Enigma puzzle.

    Performances are all up to the standard one would expect from a cast of this caliber, and the film shows how Turing's alienation from many of his team members at Bletchley (his genius could also manifest itself as arrogance on a personal level) paralleled his later persecution as a homosexual by the same government he helped save during the war. The nuts and bolts of the actual codebreaking, however, felt like it was glossed over for expediency's sake. Some of the "eureka" moments when Bletchley figured out the lazy mistakes that many German Enigma operators were making in transmitting their daily messages are there but the story never seems to go below the surface in explaining how they allowed Turing and his team to finally unlock the machine's secrets.

    A well-crafted, if perhaps too safely told, story.

  • #2
    Re: The Imitation Game

    I saw the Dougray Scott version....

    Bill
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    • #3
      Re: The Imitation Game

      Originally posted by wcmartell View Post
      I saw the Dougray Scott version....

      Bill
      "Enigma" was pretty enjoyable as the fictionalized "spy thriller" version of the story (the Robert Harris book from which it was adapted is a great read). "The Imitation Game" actually could have used maybe a little bit more of that film's energy.

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      • #4
        Re: The Imitation Game

        I hadn't known the story beforehand, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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        • #5
          Re: The Imitation Game

          I saw both this and The Theory of Everything this week.

          Both were worth seeing, but this was better.

          Good setups and payoffs with the dramatic questions -- much more so than in Theory, which is pretty much "this happened and then this happened..."

          I agree it's a little safe, but well-crafted and intelligent.

          Some lovely gracenotes in the script -- like the cyanide at the beginning and the apples later on.
          "People who work in Hollywood are the ones who didn't quit." -- Lawrence Kasdan

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          • #6
            Re: The Imitation Game

            I really enjoyed it, particularly the old-fashioned war film feel.
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            • #7
              Re: The Imitation Game

              Originally posted by LauriD View Post
              I saw both this and The Theory of Everything this week.

              Both were worth seeing, but this was better.

              Good setups and payoffs with the dramatic questions -- much more so than in Theory, which is pretty much "this happened and then this happened..."

              I agree it's a little safe, but well-crafted and intelligent.

              Some lovely gracenotes in the script -- like the cyanide at the beginning and the apples later on.
              I want to agree with you, but I feel this is a relatively unfair comparison. Hawking had no eureka moment that stood out more than others, while Turing obviously did. Turing's story lends itself much better to cinematic adaptation simply because it has much more narrative than most lives do. If Turing had lived to be 80, and you tried to encompass all the rest of it, his breaking of the Enigma would have been less defining a turning point in the film.

              While I found The Imitation Game to be a much more enjoyable watch, I think Redmayne and Jones' performances in Theory were two of the best this year. And I think Theory was more of a character study than Imitation, so the performances alone were enough to keep me hooked.

              Just my opinion, obviously...

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