To the Cumberbatch fans out there who are about to buy a ticket to Penguins of Madagascar, please travel the extra miles and track down a theater playing The Imitation Game instead. This World War II drama about Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch), a man who had the simple task of deciphering Nazi code for the British with a German machine that is just about impossible to crack, is an essential piece of history with an equally important message of diversity that everybody needs to experience as soon as possible.
The story of Alan Turing is inspirational, moving, tragic, and jam-packed with enough important details for two movies. With a 114 minute runtime, screenwriter Graham Moore crams a lot into that “short” amount of time. This is one of those rare cases where a movie needed to be longer. Many plot points in this film did not receive the full treatment they deserved.
From Turing’s relationship with Joan Clarke (Keira Knightley), a fellow code-breaker, to the reason for the film’s heart wrenching finale, The Imitation Game sets up a lot and doesn’t pay off.
That being said, Moore still does a commendable job here. The dialogue is very well-written with a handful of quality monologues. Not to mention, a majority of the supporting characters are given scenes to shine which makes for a largely memorable cast of characters (something a lot of movies have trouble with). Although the cast deserves some of that praise too.
While Benedict Cumberbatch isn’t new to playing snobby narcissists, his performance as Alan Turing is exceptional to say the least. It truly is a master class of acting to watch Benny C convey Moore’s dialogue. The power and emotion in the man’s voice as well as his bodily movements secures Benedict Cumberbatch as one of Hollywood’s finest actors (and an Oscar nomination as well).
Keira Knightley also delivers a great performance as Joan Clarke. She nails the cute and crafty personalities of her character, which makes for one of the standout female performances of the year. The rest of the supporting cast, which includes the likes of Matthew Goode, Mark Strong, and Charles Dance, also deliver solid performances.
Finally, Alexandre Desplat’s score for the film deserves a mention. It’s a very “cool” sounding score that will be playing on movie nerds’ iPhones for quite some time.
Even with a crowded screenplay, The Imitation Game is still well worth seeing. Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, and co. knock it out of the park while Graham Moore delivers a hell of a good screenplay on his first go. All to the tune of Desplat’s beautiful score, and The Imitation Game is one of the movies to see this Oscar season.