Review: The Imitation Game

or how we, the spectators, lost the game within…

A still from "The Imitation Game"
A still from “The Imitation Game”

“Sometimes it is the people no one imagines anything of that do the things no one can imagine”, runs the movie’s wonderful line. And we just couldn’t wait to see what this mind had to offer, now could we? And before I start, I have to admit this film was something I really wanted to see. But let’s see what’s behind all of this and what actually happen to that storyline…

“The Imitation Game” is a historical thriller about Alan Turing, one of the most important figures in the British history (at least in the previous century), played by Benedict Cumberbatch. Morten Tyldum’s English-language movie debut follows the events that surrounded Turin before, during and after his work and achievements as one the leading men among the finest code-breakers at Bletchley Park, then Government’s playground. Tyldum got us interested at the beginning of the movie immediately, with a little mysterious (non)robbery and, again quite quickly, went backwards and gave us the story on a platter. Suspicious? Hm. It was. However, we are not only faced with his achievements in the maths area, the director occasionally drift us to several other sides of his character, his “gross indecency” and lack of communication skills. Or, to make this more easy for you, just play the first episode of the first season of “Sherlock” and remember his words “I’m a high-functioning sociopath.” Well, that would be it. Although, when a puzzle-wizard shows up, Joan Clarke (played by Keira Knightley) we are suddenly facing with another problem – women’s involvement of then only boy’s game (and how ironic, without women this couldn’t be done). Even here, in the first quarter of the film you are not entirely sure what the story is. It seemed like a mish-mash of several things, and the zoom kept turning to different points. Were we lost or someone’s plan went mistakably to the other direction?  Oh well, maybe it was too early to tell. Or maybe not.

At times the script was terrific and Graham Moore did a good job with the adaptation of Andrew Hodges’ novel ” Alan Turing: The Enigma“. But the minute you get really hooked something (un)expectedly happens and your mind starts to wander.

Benedict Cumberbatch’s portrayal of Turin was extremely good, close to excellent. Not a surprise to be honest since that the same Sherlock’s arrogance is present here. Well, same arrogance but lower voice I guess. I hear Nomination bells Benedict! One of the things that really kept me focused was the way Cumberbatch and Knightley interacted on the screen. And the flow was quite good. Sharp. Edged. Beautiful. And to the point. But I remember someone saying that this couldn’t save the film. Quite true apparently.

What really interests me here is the way Cumberbatch keeps playing the same main roles, at least in the last 3 years. Deliberately naturally. The questionable characters just fly without any obstacles to him. First already mentioned Sherlock Holmes in the “Sherlock” series from 2011. After that he made an impressive impact with his Julian Asange portrayal in “The Fifth Estate”. And now this role. Will the famous “sociopath” escape the pattern, remains to be seen.

While we are at the “giving compliments” area, it would be quite wrong not to mention the beautiful score by Alexandre Desplat. Perhaps after 6 Oscar nominations, this will be the Frenchman’s year.

I am not sure whether this will be tough to handle or not, but “A Beautiful Mind” just kept screaming into my ears, both in scenery and the nature of the characters. One man against the whole system? Oh yes, rings a bell. Just add few things, eliminate the surprises and decrease the effects of the opposition’s lack of understanding, and there you go! Yes, at the beginning it seemed like the director played the cards quite well for everybody, but in the end he forgot the film. Harsh or not, this plot is out of context.

And there lies the biggest problem with this film – we don’t know where we’re at. Maybe Keira’s last words in the film helps toward the conclusion. Or the actual movie lines at the end tell us what was in the spotlight. Anyhow, despite the overwhelming feeling you are left with, the void eventually swallows you in.

In the end I wondered if it vanished inside the Enigma. The riddle left us walking aimlessly. Oh well…


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