‘The Imitation Game’ Review: Are you Paying Attention?

Posted in The Screening Room by - April 02, 2015

The Imitation Game was suggested by Kate Staten. It’s our first reader submitted month here at Kulture Shocked, and I’m glad to say that there is a smorgasbord of films for us to discuss. After trudging through our list of disaster films that turned out to be more awful then anything else, it’s nice to have some decent film to watch. Our next film on the list is The Imitation Game.

During the Oscars, I gave this film some serious hate. Not because I thought it was a bad film mind you, I just can’t get behind biographical work leading the conversation when it comes to “Best Actor/Actress”. It’s unoriginal and it completely discounts the work actors and actresses put into completely original characters that require a lot of creative effort. Benedict Cumberbatch did a fantastic job portraying Alan Turing, however, I’m sure there are copious amounts of records describing what Mr. Turing was like, as opposed to say Monsieur Gustave H from The Grand Budapest Hotel.

I will admit that most of my hate for the film was misplaced. The Imitation Game is actually more akin to a war time drama, and in that regard it is absolutely fantastic. The film does an excellent job of telling who Alan Turing was, the development of the Turing Machine (what we call computers), and what it was like to be in the United Kingdom during World War II. 

The Imitation Game stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Kiera Knightley, who were both excellent in their roles, but my favorite performance is a three way tie between Charles Dance, Matthew Goode, and Mark Strong. Each play a supporting character, and those roles cater to each’s strengths in magnificent fashion. Dance plays Commander Denniston, a character that is extraordinarily similar to Tywin Lannister from Game of Thrones.  Matthew Goode plays Hugh Alexander, a genius in his own right, and a tad more sociable than Cumberbatch’s Turing. Finally, Mark Strong has made a career out of playing cool and calculating characters, whether they’re mad villains or the MI6 type. Strong plays the agent type here as Stewart Menzies. The double breasted suit and suave manner essentially sets The Kingsman back 70 years, but it’s pretty damn awesome.

The Imitation Game is an excellent film, however, I have one problem with it. What is a fantastic biographical war time drama was instantly transformed into a pro LGBT piece in a mere 30 seconds of slate text at the very end of the film. I’m not against the LGBT community, however, I’m not for filmmakers shoe horning a “message” into their works, especially when the whole product is as good as The Imitation Game. Shame on you, Morten Tyldum, shame on you. If you want your films to have a message, great, but make it the theme of your film.

On the whole, The Imitation Game is a fantastic film and deserved the Oscar nominations it received. It is definitely a must see. The story of Alan Turing is an extraordinarily important one and I would encourage you to find a copy of the book this film is adapted from, Alan Turing: The Enigma by Andrew Hodges.

Final Say: Must Watch

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