Monday, January 19, 2015

The Imitation Game: Review

Directed by: Mortem Tyldum
Starring: Benedict Cumberbach, Matthew Goode and Keira Knightley
Music: Alexandre Desplat
Running Time: 1 hour 54 minutes

At one point in the movie, the character of Joan Clarke tells Turing that while taking a train to the city she went passed a village which wouldn't exist had it not been for his genius. This is exactly the reason why you should know about Alan Turing too, had it not been for his work and genius we'd still be years behind in technology.

The Imitation Game is a biopic which heavily benefits from the protagonist's character and some powerful performances by Benedict Cumberbach and Matthew Goode.

Based in the 1930s, The imitation game tells the often ignored story of how Alan Turing broke the Enigma codes to help England win the war. While, also touching on the subject of inclusivity and how geniuses sometimes find it hard to have a social life.

Packed with powerful performances from Benedict Cumberbach, Matthew Goode and Keira Knightley, the imitation game manages to strike the right chord of emotion throughout it's 2 hours of running time.

A strong story and a well written screenplay captures your attention even in the most trivial of mathematic discussions.

There's also something to be said about how well shot the movie is, from the perfect reproduction of the 1950s, to long shots of Turing with his computer Christopher, the Imitation Game is a very elegantly made movie and incredibly calm for a movie about the very urgency of war time problem solving.

But the Imitation Game is far from perfect. There's a touch of everything in the movie. It's a war movie, a spy thriller and a science drama at the same time. The imitation game discusses the war time problems, Turing's personal challenges (to which Cumberbach lends  surprising finesse) and Turing's relationship with Christopher the computer and the genius of Joan Clarke at good lengths but it's only skin deep when discussing about mathematical and engineering challenges. Going to watch a biopic on Alan Turing, I was expecting a little more on the Enigma Codes. The director, generates a whole lot of interest in cryptography and enigma codes and mathematics but doesn't really let the movie sink it's teeth on those subjects.

Despite Cumberbach's award worthy performance, the socially inept genius character is starting to show its age, Jim Parson's already doing it as Sheldon in the Big Bang theory and Cumberbach's doing it in Sherlock too. Nearly 8 years into watching these types of characters on TV shows, one wonders if it's time we took some break off them and talked about the more social academics, one's who don't insult every passerby on the street.

Also, The Imitation Game is a movie that’s best watched without an interval. Sadly, however not many theatres offer that privilege in India. So I’d suggest you either ask the theatre personal before hand about the no-interval screening (if its available, though I am heavily skeptical) or watch it at home through a legally distributed copy, for the best experience.

It’s also interesting to note the makers’ choice of using Imitation Game as the title, which is a direct reference to Turing’s work on what we now call Captcha, instead of something like Enigma or Christopher. Moreover, the way the Imitation Game was used in the movie’s narrative is surprisingly good, it doesn’t stick out as odd or unnecessary, moreover you expect something like this from Turing.

The Imitation Game isn't a perfect movie but it's definitely worth a watch, just for the story itself! Alan Turing's is a story that every one must hear and the Imitation Game does justice to it a large extend but you still come out wanting more.

Rating: 8/10 ( Worth a Watch)

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