16 November 2014

LIFF 2014 - The Imitation Game (2014)

Thriller, Drama, Biography
Release Date:
14th November 2014 (UK)
Rating: 15
Morten Tyldum
Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode , Charles Dance, Mark Strong, Tuppence Middleton, Rory Kinnear

The Imitation Game was the first film I saw at the Leeds film festival after a mix up on times for Godard’s 3D film, which is probably a blessing in disguise. The film is being hotly tipped for Bafta and Oscar glory and it’s not hard to see why. I would be shocked if Benedict Cumberbatch isn’t nominated come awards season.

It’s the story of Alan Turring (Benedict Cumberbatch), one of the most radical figures in the creation of what we now know as the computer. He was hired to try to crack the Enigma machine that Nazis used to encrypt secret messages. Turig led a group of code breakers to decode German communications and they believe, if they can crack it, victory is in sight. However Turring is also homosexual and there were great punishments for being gay at the time because it was still an offence.

Cumberbatch has never been better; he perfectly captures a driven man who has ideas too large for his time. He also perfectly captures the paranoia he suffers after the war in the scenes when he is interrogated that leads to his downfall. Keira Knightley plays Joan Clarke who was one of the code breakers but had to do it in secret because of the sexism of the time. The rest of the cast is full of solid British actors like Mark Strong and Matthew Goode.

The director Morten Tyldum solidly puts together a fascinating film even if at times it’s begging for a oscar. It works on many levels; it’s firstly a nail-biting thriller that is thrilling from the moment it starts to it’s sad climax. It also works as a solid war film that shows the behind the scenes that really won the war. It also works as a depiction of a time when being yourself could lead to prison time. It is also surprising funny throughout which is surprising given the subject matter but Turring’s interactions with high officials and his team of code breakers are laugh out loud funny as times.

Ian Schultz

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