During World War II, Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) is hired by the government to work alongside the brightest minds in the country in order to break the Nazi Enigma code. This near-impossible task is made even harder by the fact that Alan refuses to work in conventional ways, focusing instead on building a ground-breaking new machine that could win the war.
An all-star British cast unite for the tragic and utterly engrossing story of Alan Turing and his efforts as a code-breaker during the war. His life story is fascinating and deserves a large, impressive canvas to be told. This is delivered beautifully by Graham Moore’s affecting screenplay from Andrew Hodges book. Director Morten Tyldum gets the nuances just right to deliver a film of consummate strength that will rightly be mentioned come awards season.
Benedict Cumberbatch deserves Oscar gold as Alan Turing, handing in a mesmerising lead performance that perfectly conveys the man’s genius. Turing was an ‘odd duck’ as described by his mother, and Cumberbatch perfectly conveys this quirk and charm in an affecting way. It’s certainly his greatest role to date and one that elevates him to the higher echelons of his generation. He is stunning onscreen.
Throw in Keira Knightley, Mark Strong, Charles Dance and Matthew Goode and you have a supporting cast of remarkable depth and ability. Mark Strong steals all of his scenes as government shadow man Stewart Menzies with Charles Dance the perfect representation of the stiff upper lip as Commander Denniston. Matthew Goode oozes charisma and class as fellow code-breaker Hugh Alexander and there are noticeable turns from Allen Leech, Rory Kinnear and Tuppence Middleton. But it’s Keira Knightley and her natural chemistry with everyone that makes the biggest impression – full of style and verve.
Edge-of-your-seat drama and tension blend with clever timeline jumps to illustrate Turing’s life and struggles. This plot device is very effective and gives the narrative a great angle to explore. The score is also amazing – perhaps one of the years finest – with Alexandre Desplat’s haunting melodies perfectly capturing the essence of the story. The fact that all of this is a true story only serves to increase the emotional impact of the music too.
The Imitation Game is the best British film of 2014. Full of standout performances and a story that’s engaging, informative and utterly compelling, it’s sure to take awards season gold next year. Simply put, The Imitation Game is an unmissable, superior and very important drama.