Though I did’t get an opportunity to watch The Imitation Game in the theater, I was eagerly awaiting RedBox release. Benedict Cumberbatch is one of those rare actors with an extraordinary acting range and commitment to the role. Thus, when he was cast as Alan Touring, a giant in the field of computer science (of a sort), I was all-in from moment one. I only hoped the film lived up to my daunting expectations and I wasn’t wrong.
The title is actually a fascinatingly genius play on words which only reveals itself during the final third of the viewing experience – one I will save you from in this review.
The film centers around Touring, his team of unique mental sophistics, and the unenviable task of cracking the WWII German Enigma encoding machine — a task thought utterly unattainable by the Allies. Until it wasn’t. The story arch actually jumps around just a little, telling the tale from the 1950’s back to the struggle in WWII England. Well, when I say struggle, more appropriately the fight against the implacable power of the Enigma, the battle of competing egos, and the predictable social awkwardness of brilliant minds interacting with mere humans. Touring, considered by most as the founding visionary of modern computers, also fights against the immense social stigmas of 1950’s England — a fight which eventually exacts a heavy price.
I found the film extremely well acted, with Cumberbatch leading by example. The plot is quite cohesive and kept me challenged and involved for most of the viewing experience — this is not an action/adventure by any stretch of the imagination but thoroughly lives up to the billing of drama. Though the story centers around the breaking of Enigma, there is another equally frustrating conflict between Touring and his environment. Both story lines converge in a well timed narrative leaving the viewer both relieved and frustrated at the film’s conclusion.
I’ve settled on a rating of a Strong 7/10 for The Imitation Game and may actually purchase this on blu-ray for the permanent collection. Though I normally steer clear of heavy social commentary in this light weight, pop culture chit-chat, I think this one deserves a serious look for all the right reasons. I’m left wanting to learn more about Touring, his life, struggles, and successes. I thoroughly enjoyed the film and strongly recommend a viewing.