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Film Review: The Imitation Game

by Photo of Marianna Giusti

Morton Tyldum’s English language debut is a masterpiece of historical and personal strife

 Film Review: The Imitation Game

The award nominated film, The Imitation Game takes the audience through the dusky real-life story of Alan Turing, the Cambridge mathematician, logician, and cryptanalyst, who broke the Nazi code Enigma, and silently determined the end of World War II, in 1945.

Awarded with 5 Golden Globes and 8 BAFTA nominations, The Imitation Game has an outstanding cast including, Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, and the irresistible co-star Matthew Goode.

The film launches the English language debut of Norwegian director Morton Tyldum, a graduate of New York's  School of Visual Arts, who gained international fame with Headhunters, in 2011.

Intertwining college memories and war vicissitudes, the film unfolds from Cambridge King’s College in the 20ies, to the cold war years in the beginning of the 50ies.

The historical setting, the code-breaking theme and the genius-outsider (and unfortunate hero) resembles that of A Beautiful Mind, by Ron Howard. Nevertheless, The Imitation Game deals with the personal theme more delicately, creating a more whole, fluid and pleasant narrative.

In Moore’s screenplay, espionage maneuvers and unspeakable secrets cluster around the core of the film: the war and its mission.

Knightley, Goode and Kennear play the batch of scholars, linguists, and chess champions who act as intelligence team, engaged by Winston Churchill’s right arm. These sharply defined characters create a conflicting net of human dynamics while revolving around the genius Alan, a man whose personality is filled with blurred lines. The audience only gets to know him through a sequence of excruciatingly traumatic school-day flashbacks, which gradually unveil the mystery and arise sympathy for the border-line autistic hero.

The multi-nominated adaptation by Graham Moore, loosely based on the biography Alan Turing: the Enigma, by Andrew Hodges, proves to be fairly faithful. The script presents invention solely in the pursuit of dramatic effect, in truth not very much needed, given the per se incredible historical truth.

Scriptwriter Moore has been alleged with embellishing Turing’s relationship with Joan, camouflaging Alan’s homosexuality. In the film the variation is brought forth not disturbingly, and it is later soundly harmonized with Turning’s historical homosexuality by the development of the plot.

Also the machine, has been condemned for being grandly styled, compared to the historical “Bombe” decoder, which fitted in a plain white box. But the big screen Imitation Game needed a device able to show the complexity of the mind who created it, which his machine well does.

In the background of what historians have defined the pivotal point of World War II, shrinking the war by at least two years, and saving thousands of lives, an intimate conflict blossoms. The theme of homosexuality is covered by the film with exquisite discreteness. Its doubt is subtly implanted in the watcher, and skillfully revealed, through voiceless hints and a single line. “You can’t tell anyone, Alan, it’s illegal”. The conflict is brought to an end in a silent tragedy.

The Imitation Game is an homage to a man, Alan Turing, of whom, before the film came out, nobody really knew, until now. This film is the real story of a man who gave a decisive contribution to the world as we know it today, historically, and scientifically. For this reason, and for actors and a direction matching up to the screenplay’s ambition, the film is incredible, charming,with a profoundly instructive and eye-opening story.

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Check out the official trailer for The Imitation Game:


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