Friday, January 2, 2015

Movie Review: "The Imitation Game" (2014)

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Movie"The Imitation Game"
Director: Morten Tyldum
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 1 hour, 54 minutes

Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) is a brilliant mathematician who as has just been hired by the British government to be part of a team to help crack the German Enigma code machine. He is very good with numbers but very bad with people, which makes him unpopular with his team. Alan has an idea that could very well break Enigma forever. He wants to build a machine that will be able to decode every German message every single time without fail, but his abrasive personality has made it hard for him to gain the support of those in charge of the program, and they may shut him down before his idea can be fully realized. 

World War II has been able to offer a lot of content for Hollywood. There are probably dozens if not hundreds of movies based on this event. If 2014 if any indication, the film industry won't be stopping this trend any time soon. "The Imitation Game" is our favorite WWII film of not only 2014, but now it is a favorite of ours among all war movies in general. This film is based on the life of Alan Turing, the man who Winston Churchill believed contributed more than any individual to winning the second world war, and he didn't even do it on the battlefield with guns and tanks. He did it with his incredible mind. Benedict Cumberbatch is able to personify Turing so well that we think his performance was one of the best this year, if not this decade. He will prove tough competition to Eddie Redmayne, who up until now, has had our #1 pick for Best Actor of 2014 by a mile. Cumberbatch painstakingly portrays Turing, a man with his brains about him but no real social skills. Turing depicted as walking a fine line between being a reclusive genius and being a complete and total bastard, and Benedict Cumberbatch embodies both of these traits flawlessly and compellingly. You can see it in his face when he talks or understands and you can hear it in his voice when he speaks that Turing had trouble both understanding people and their mannerisms and had trouble conveying exactly what he wanted to say or do. It is a powerful and emotional performance of a man whose life was never given the proper credit it deserved until just recently. The tragic events of Turing's life post-WWII are heartbreaking, and what was done to him is truly one of life's great injustices. "The Imitation Game" succeeds where Christmas day rival "Unbroken" failed, and that is in its emotional connection and its ability to let the audience understand its protagonist as a person. We're not just witnessing Turing's actions, we are seeing a full person. We not only see how he acts and reacts while under pressure or strain, we get to see his personality, empathize with his situation and really, feel for the man himself in general.

Beyond Cumberbatch's outstanding depiction, all of the rest of the acting is superb as well. Keira Knightley, Charles Dance, Mark Strong, and Matthew Goode lend to a great supporting cast alongside Cumberbatch and each of these individual characters brings out a certain characteristic in Turing. The movie itself is enthralling, fascinating and engaging. The fact that we knew very little about the Enigma machine and subsequent attempts to break the code makes this film all the more interesting for us, not only to see Turing's contributions to the war effort, but to see his contributions to mankind through the invention of his Turing machine named Christopher, which is an early prototype of the modern day computer. It's all the more impressive when filmmakers are essentially turning a movie about math, statistics and building a machine, typically boring fodder, into something this exciting and intriguing. It also gives audiences a very powerful and eye-opening look back at just how damning it was to be gay in the 1940's. What Turing went through shouldn't have to be experienced by anyone, and though we're not a perfect world now by any means, if the circumstances would have been just a little bit different, he might have lived a more fulfilling, rich life to his full potential. Alan Turing's efforts have been underappreciated for far too long. It's crazy to think how far back we've held society through oppressive ideologies such as this.

My Rating: 10/10
BigJ's Rating: 10/10
IMDB's Rating: 8.4/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 89%
Do we recommend this movie: ABSOLUTELY YES!!!

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