As I sit here and write about The Imitation Game, I just realized that I haven't actually reviewed a film since December 1, which is quite insane. Sure, I can blame some of that on my busy schedule, but much of this drought can be blamed on the fact that I had no interest in writing about the films that I actually did watch in late-November and December. Mediocrity was abounding in my film-watching world, as a few of this year's Oscar-hopefuls have been a bit disappointing to me. Nevertheless, I needed something to watch, this week, and The Imitation Game was the winner of my attention. Honestly, I knew very little about the film or Alan Turing's role in the events of World War II, but the critical praise of the film drew me right on in. Considering the historic nature of the film, one can assume that The Imitation Game is all but a lock for a best picture nomination, which gave me a chance to get caught up on Oscar's favorite films (even before the actual list of nominees is released).
While the film was certainly intriguing and emotional, the amazing story would have allowed for anyone to create a successful film. In fact, when the film strayed from simply telling the story, I lost interest completely. That said, I believe that this story should be taught in every single history class in every single country that is happy that Germany failed to win WWII. This film may have been a bit distracted by the obvious social progression that is quite recognizable when comparing 2015 to any previous year, but, regardless, at the heart (for me at least), the achievements of this man and his counterparts are more than worthy of our recognition. While Alan Turing was certainly a victim of the social constructs of his time, the film should not have been so caught up in displaying this disconnect, unless the film was going to be 100% about said disconnect. In my opinion, a guy who wins World War II and basically creates the original design for modern computers is much more than just an example of failed society, as this film attempted to display Alan Turing.
At this point, I will attempt to move beyond my rant about the focus of The Imitation Game. Of course, stopping myself from ranting is quite difficult. So, we will see how that goes!
Rory Kinnear's Detective Nock was one of those pointless characters that filmmakers create, in order to tell the story in the way that they see fit. Whether or not Detective Nock actually existed, I do not care, because his presence in this film was pointlessly necessary. In keeping with my lack of caring about Turing's sexuality and personal issues, I was not a huge fan of the flashbacks to Turing's childhood, which featured young Turing (played by Alex Lawther) and young Turing's love interest (played by Jack Bannon). Because the WWII portion of the story was so fascinating, everything else just distracted from the awesomeness, in my opinion.
Benedict Cumberbatch was certainly intriguing in his portrayal of Alan Turing. While I have no previous perception or knowledge of Turing, Cumberbatch did a great job of being the Alan Turing that The Imitation Game was attempting to create, and that success is quite praise-worthy! Additionally, I really enjoyed Mark Strong's performance in his role of Stewart Menzies. This film really utilized the preconceptions that come with Strong's presence in a film, minimizing additional explanation of his role in the film, which I thought quite clever.
The story that was encompassed within The Imitation Game was likely the most interesting thing that I have seen in the past twelve months. Unfortunately, the filmmakers failed miserably in their utilization of that great story, taking something potentially great and turning it into something quite mediocre. Never in my life have I directed anything, but I feel as if I could one-up Morten Tyldum, for sure! This film should be an Oscar frontrunner, considering the AMAZING storyline, but oh well! Although I have been fairly critical of The Imitation Game, I would encourage you to watch the film, if only to realize the significance of Alan Turing's role in shaping the 20th and 21st centuries. Also, next time I google something (like, 2 minutes from now), I will know that my actions are partly made possible by Alan Turing, which is quite neat. I give The Imitation Game 2.76 out of 5 stars.