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The Imitation Game (2014) ****

The Imitation Game (2014) ****

A bio-historical war film, The Imitation Game tells the story of Alan Turin, a British mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst and, as considered by many, the father of modern computers. Turin became famous on two accounts: being a key figure during WWII in cracking Enigma, the Nazi Germany encryption code, and, later, after the war, being criminally prosecuted for his homosexuality; a crime at the UK. Staring Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley, as well as a host of other very capable cast members, The Imitation Game was directed by Morten Tyldum, to a screenplay by Graham Moore based on, or more correctly, inspired by, a biography by Andrew Hodges titled, Alan Turing: The Enigma.
The Imitation Game is engaging and compelling. The storyline intercuts between the major event of the film -- the cracking of Enigma, and Turin’s later days, as well as his youth, when he first realized his homosexuality. This form of storytelling works well for the film as it allows shedding light of the main character without a need for a narrator to add a distracting voice.
Tyldum does a fine job directing the film and controlling the pace, assisted by the capable hands of his director of photography as well as his editor. Much praise was already poured on Cumberbatch’s performance as well as of Knightley. Cumberbatch is indeed at his peak, masterfully using economy of expressions to convey the filmmakers’ interpretation of the complex character Turin was. Yet, there is one major fault with the film; the story, while claiming to be based on true events, takes a lot of liberty with accentuating the main character, as well as creating conflicts that didn’t really happen for enhanced dramatic effect. For example, and this is just one of many, Turin was a fascinating person all by himself and there was really no need to make him a social outfit, borderline Asperger, that in fact he was not. By doing so the filmmakers breached the story’s credibility. While I respect artistic freedom, I also believe that when dealing with a real character, portrayed on the screen as "based on a true story", that liberty should be approach with much more care.
That being said, The Imitation Game delicately, yet without hesitation, presents the great social injustice Turin was subjected to, as well as explore some complex relationships at a time when everything was at stake. As such, combined with the fine acting and direction, it is a film well-worth catching up on the big screen (or later, on DVD.)

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