Ian's Movie Reviews
Short Reviews of Movies, Board Games, and Other Stuff

The Imitation Game


The Imitation Game is a good movie hampered by some sizable problems and missteps. Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing is pretty much playing the movie version of Sheldon Cooper, but his performance is the best part of the film and his anti-social behaviour immediately makes the film engaging. He continues to be an interesting character to follow, and the relationships he builds are satisfying as well, especially Kiera Knightley’s Joan.

The story revolves around the struggle to break the Nazi’s code machine and Turing’s insistence on building a machine to counter it. Its a good story which gives a different perspective on the war than most other movies and is an important story to tell as well. I especially liked the payoff when they get the machine to work.

There are some glaring problems with the Imitation Game however which prevent the film from really rising high. The first is the editing and the decision to cut back between three different time periods. I can understand the flashback’s to his childhood, as the story told there is a motivating factor for his actions in the main timeline. However, I did feel that it gives the film a more biopicy flavour (which I dislike). The timeline set after the war was what really made the movie feel cluttered and didn’t really need to be intercut amongst the rest. It felt sloppy.

The other problem was how they tried to suddenly shoehorn in the idea of Turing being persecuted for his homosexuality. The entire focus of the movie for the majority was Turing’s struggle to break the code and how his unique personality was crucial in his success. But all of the sudden the story changed its focus and tried to make some sort of political statement or… something. Either way, the treatment of it wasn’t well done. If they wanted to make a movie about how this very important man was persecuted for being gay, then make the movie about that. Don’t make a movie about something else and then try to throw in an aspect of the story which requires much more attention then what they could give it here.

So at the end, the movie basically suffers from an identity crisis, which is too bad. So right now it feels like a good movie with some rough edges that should have been smoothed before it was released.

2 Responses to “The Imitation Game”

  1. Nice review Ian. I felt the most important aspects of this movie were those exploring Turing’s childhood and persecution. It seems a shame then, that the filmmakers chose to focus almost entirely on the story of the enigma machine – one we are already very familiar with and offers few surprises. I can understand that the film needed to show just how Turing helped the war effort – something that makes his persecution particularly unforgivable – but the balance just felt wrong to me.

  2. Good review Ian. Cumberbatch and Knightley were both good, however, I felt like the movie itself was just a tad too plain.

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