Thursday, February 04, 2016

The Imitation Game

The Imitation Game
 This intense and depressing little movie is very thoughtful and clever. With some good characters and acting. It is not action-packed, but a smart take on WWII spy issues, information and code-cracking.
Based on the book by Andrew Hodges, the movie deals with a group of intelligent people in the UK trying to figure out the enigma code machine that the Nazi had. The British government hired Alan Turing and others try to break the code during WWII. Turing created a large machine to help break the code, but people still had to figure out the code-key because it reset everyday. This is that story.
Yes, Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing is one of the best things about the movie and he totally kicks ass as this torn/strange character. He plays a really intelligent guy that likes trying to figure out codes and making his own code language. He is drawn to the code-cracking team. I love Cumberbatch's introduction into the movie against Charles Dance.
Turing is a jerk, but we get to see why he is this way. And, his character does change when he meets his match in the enigma machine. He needs to work with other people,  because the code machine is his worst enemy.  He has to open up to receiving help. This is simply a great performance by Cumberbatch.
Keira Knightley is a breath of fresh air with a movie that is pretty much just men in the cast. You may have written her off in the Pirates movies, but she is great as the female lead. And the direction they take with the character is a neat and interesting way to deal with the “gay issue” of the story. Her character has a very interesting take on social norms of the 1940s in the UK. She is smart, but she has to fit in with what is required of a woman of that era. Anyway, she has good chemistry with Cumberbatch. Yes, she is very good when she finds a good script and director, so she shines in this movie.
With a rather silly movie title, the movie is extremely well-made. The editing and directing are pretty good and you have to good editing due to timeline jumping. There are three main time periods, Childhood, War Time and Post War (50s). In other hands, this movie would have been a narrative mess.
The movie does a convincing job conveying the frustration of resetting everything at the end of the day because the Nazi reset the codes. And, they had to reset their code-cracking methods and start fresh. I also like we get to see the early stages of computers with the Turing machine that was a code cracking machine. In this movie, Turing envisioned the computer age that happened some 20 years later.
Charles Dance (AKA Tywin Lannister ) is also in the movie as a military commander. He hates Turing and seems to carry over that stern demeanor from Game of Thrones. He's a great guy to hate.
The movie also deals with the gay issue that is often NOT talked about that happened in Britain . I had no idea that being gay was illegal and you could spend a lot of time in jail for just being a gay male. The movie opened my eyes to this. THIS plays a huge role in the other portion of the movie.
The movie is very well-directed and smartly acted from everyone around. Cumberbatch is outstanding in the leading role and he carries every scene with exception of the flashbacks to the younger Turing kid. The movie is great, but very depressing and will leave you feeling angry
Grade: A-

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