The Imitation Game

by | Jan 8, 2015 | 0 comments

Cumberbatch Leads a Stellar Supporting Cast in This Untold Story

Benedict Cumberbatch has no ceiling. He is breaking through so many fame barriers incredibly fast. He first came into Hollywood’s knowledge with a supporting in role in 2011’s Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. He later broke into stardom as Sherlock Holmes in the BBC’s mini-series Sherlock. He then moved into blockbusters playing the villain Kahn in Star Trek: Into Darkness and later voicing Smaug the dragon in The Hobbit trilogy. He also did some stage work by playing both Frankenstein and his Creature on the stage adaption of Mary Shelly’s novel in 2011. He has also been making independent movies, raising his critical acclaim. He took up roles in August: Osage County, The Fifth Estate, and most recently The Imitation Game. In The Imitation Game Cumberbatch found the role that could give him the Oscar nomination he missed. However, the film is not solely held by Cumberbatch; the supporting cast is incredibly good, especially Keira Knightley. Both Cumberbatch and Knightley’s performances, along with the great cinematography, screenplay, and directing were enough to make this film one of this year’s best.

The Imitation Game tells the true story of mathematician Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) and how he broke the Nazi enigma code that helped win the war. The film jumps from the 1950s where Turing is being investigated for something suspicious to the 1940s where Turing is with his team of mathematicians in Bletchley Park trying to break German enigma, to the 1920s where Turing attends a boarding school and learns his way through the mathematical and social world. The heart of the story is in the 1940s where we see Turing recruited by MI6 and paired with Britain’s greatest mathematicians and code breakers (the actors include the likes of Matthew Goode and Downton Abbey’s Allen Leech). Here we see that Turing is a little anti-social and unconventional, which humanizes Turing. We find a person that feels left out of the world; he can feel pain even as a genius. As Turing proves himself to be the heart of the research group he is made leader and thus he goes through a few reforms, firing certain code-breakers and scouting others. In a test that Turing devises in a newspaper, a woman named Joan Clarke (Keira Knightley) is able to solve Turing’s test puzzle incredibly fast. Turing finds a way to sneak her into his facilities to help solve enigma. The story ends up focusing more on the characters than the actual mission after a while, but sincerely that’s what the audience wants.

Just like this year’s The Theory of Everything, which followed the life of Stephen Hawking, the film ends up being more about the character’s journey than the actual science and facts. And if you wanted to know about Turing or Hawking you could easily pick up a book and learn from him. To know Turing or Hawking is a much greater challenge, which both The Imitation Game and The Theory of Everything manage to achieve.

Then of course there are the spectacular performances by the cast. Yes, Benedict Cumberbatch is amazing, but the supporting cast is also exceptional and it fills in the cracks and nooks so that the end result is a wholesome and near-perfect picture. Keira Knightley, challenged with a lead role in Begin Again this year, is able to brim her role with richness and experience unsurprising now for the 29 year-old. Then we have Matthew Goode in a role, that could have been cheesy, but which he handled with skill, and we also have Mark Strong, who plays the head of the MI6. If I have to state some disappointment it’s in Allen Leech, a revelation on Downton Abbey, but when given a more challenging and screen-consuming role he proves to not be up to the task, he seems too afraid and unfamiliar with his character.

The cinematography was subtle yet appreciative. The lense changes between time periods allow for the audience to not lose itself with the time jumps. And there were some surprising and original bird’s eye-view shots that delighted moviegoers, weary of the safe and overused shots of today’s movies.

The costume and hair was exceptional as well. The historical research and characterization that each costume and hairstyle underwent is extremely appreciated. It’s sad that with other big budgeted films the appreciation for a good costuming in a film is lost.

An excellent film, worth seeing due to the untold subject of the code-breakers that helped win WWII. Cumberbatch’s charisma keeps you glued to the film and its supporting cast of actors makes you wonder why most of them aren’t seen more in Hollywood.

  • OVERALL MOVIE RATING 85% 85%

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What is your favorite Benedict Cumberbatch movie? Let me know in the comments section.

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