My Review: The Imitation Game

Photo: Chris White

I’m a sucker for a good spy/espionage thriller. I recently finished watching the BBC America mini-series “The Game” which blew my mind. Morten Tyldrum’s The Imitation Game was, in a way, exactly what I look for in this genre of film – but it had some glaring flaws.

The film chronicles the intriguing story of Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch), a brilliant mathematician and decoder, who tries to break the German enigma code with a talented team at Britain’s secret Government Code and Cypher School at Bletchley Park during World War II. All the while bearing a secret himself.

Overall, The Imitation Game was a really good film. Cumberbatch’s performance was fantastic, which is why I think he deserved an Oscar nod for Best Actor. Keira Knightley’s performance as Joan Clarke was equally fantastic and deserving of a Best Supporting Actress nod. The film itself started off a bit slow and tended to drag at some points, but it did get more and more interesting to watch as it went along.

However, I take issue with this film for its manipulation of the actual events that took place. It’s unfortunate that this often happens with films of this nature. According to L.V. Anderson of Slate, the film injected conflict where no conflict existed, invented entirely fictional characters, rearranged the chronology of events and misinterpreted the nature of Turing’s work. Perhaps, the most glaring fault of all was the film’s suggestion that Turing was solely responsible for cracking the enigma code and subsequently helping the Allies win the war. Anderson said that a machine that was instrumental in cracking the enigma code was actually developed by Polish cryptanalysts long before Turing began working for the British government. Anderson also pointed out that the design for Turing’s machine was a collaborative effort between Turing and Gordon Welchman. Welchman was not mentioned in the film.

I really wanted to give The Imitation Game a higher rating, with stellar cast performances and a gripping story. I would recommend the film on its story alone, but I have a huge problem with historic biopics that bend the truth almost to the point of absurdity.

I Give It A: C+

Check Out The Trailer Here

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