'The Imitation Game'
Director: Morten tyldum
Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Mark Strong
'The Imitation Game'. Pic/Santa Banta
'The Imitation Game' has been named aptly. It perfectly emulates every historical World War 2 drama about a legendary man who changed the war and the course of history. It also perfectly emulates all the right notes required to conjure up a bunch of Oscar nominations tailormade for the easily manipulated public.
Benedict Cumberbatch stars as Alan Turing, the British mathematician who broke the Nazi's Enigma code in World War 2 and reduced the war by more than two years. Turing is one of the most significant names in modern mathematics and even though he helped the British win a war he was forced to be chemically castrated because he was gay.
With that sort of a plot this could have been a great film but like the other two Oscar nominated releases of the week 'The Imitation Game' also falls into the claptrap of taking a potentially epic scale story and reducing it to something mediocre. The film charts Turing's time in the MI6 when he builds a machine to take down the Enigma machine – in the meantime he also finds a sort of a love in his colleague Joan (played by Keira Knightley), while trying to hide his homosexuality.
Now these are plot points contain elements of thriller, drama and romance – yet none of themes are explored to any satisfactory detail. The machine that Turing builds is never explained – it just sort of works and there is an obligatory celebratory scene. The dynamics between Turing and Joan are never explained – there is one obligatory scene where a small conflict between the two is established. The homosexuality is never detailed – there is an obligatory flashback and the theme is only used as a prop to gain sympathy for the character, not to make you think what the extent of Turing's turmoil was. Whatever the film attempts, the execution feels nothing more than TV movie level.
Benedict Cumberbatch seems to understand the gravitas of his character and renders quite a splendid performance as the psychologically smashed genius. He smiles and cries and wallows in his deep voice and magnetic presence. But there is only so much he can do in a film full of stuff more mediocre than him. This movie has the same unmistakable stench of disappointment and the waft of simplistic tripe that his previous movie 'The Fifth Estate' had. The same can also be said about director Morten Tyldum who showed so much promise in the Norwegian film 'Headhunters' and sold out so easily to the comforts of Hollywood.