2014 has been the year of the Doppelganger. Not Doppelganger Movies, that was just two Hercules movies.
No, 2014 gave us Enemy and The Double (which may have been 2013) and The One I Love. Clones everywhere.
But The Imitation Game, despite its clone sounding title, is totally not about clones! What’s up with that? No, instead we are getting a historical drama about Alan Turing, a British man who did things during World War II. Yes, this is another World War II movie, but instead of bombs and death, we instead get math and death.
“The square root of a bullet is still a bullet.” – Albert Einstein
You see, Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) was one of those very eccentric individuals who also did smart man things. Aka, the perfect type of person to make a movie about, because acting!
Alan Tuning is most famous for kind of leading the science way towards real life computers. Back in the 1940s, they didn’t even have the internet, so presumably all their free time went towards doing crossword puzzles. Especially Mr. Turing! A professor at Mathematics, he loved puzzles and solving cryptography. So he gets himself into an interview with the British Royal Navy to join their puzzle solving squad. Namely, trying to crack the German Enigma Machine.
The Engima was thought to be uncrackable. They had a copy of it, but they didn’t know the code. The code changed daily, right at midnight, and their first message intercepted would be at about 6 am. So they have to go back to square one, even if they solve that days code, every morning. It would be a tireless effort, but these men (Matthew Goode, Allen Leech, Matthew Beard) are up to the job! Just not with the anti-social awkward Turing. Who also doesn’t want to help their daily efforts, but instead build a machine that can crack the code almost instantly and help the Allied forces win the war!
And he was gay. That is important, because homosexuality in the UK was illegal at the time, so his mere existence was causing him to be an outlaw, yet a huge savior of World War II.
Also featuring Keira Knightley as Joan, a WOMAN on the team (kind of), Charles Dance as the head of the Navy, Mark Strong as a MI6 agent involved as an overseer, and Rory Kinnear as a detective trying to find out what Turing is really up to.
Being a woman in a male dominated field of doing puzzles really makes you stand out.
I am pretty sure a lot of this movie was fictionalized to increase drama and make everything a lot more exciting…and I am completely fine with that. Man, was this film tense and exciting. And well acted! Not just the Cumberbatch either, but the other guys and gals, they did pretty good too.
As for Cumberbatch, it is interesting that in an episode of Sherlock, he referred specifically to Alan Turing’s life and issues they had after finally solving the Engima machine. It was a huge plot point and involved moral ambiguity (which I am always a fan of), and shit, now he is Alan Turing doing the same thing he talked about in another role! Crazy! And a bit eerie. But even more importantly, like a lot of his recent roles, this role was very different from his past jobs and you could tell a lot of fantastic acting was going on there. So good the acting. Acting that shows a love of the craft and maybe a love of the subject matter.
Is it the best at acting? Nah, probably not. But it is up there for sure.
I found the whole thing easy to watch and follow, and it was great that we also got a story of Turing when he was in grade school before he got his PhDs. It is great having WW2 movies that aren’t just about how war is terrible and people are dying and all of that. Which is I guess what The Monuments Men tried to do and failed.
4 out of 4.