A little known story of Britain’s unsung hero, Stefan Newton discovers The Imitation Game to be a gripping and poignant masterpiece.
My first thought after watching this glorious one hundred and fourteen minutes of film was – why can’t all history lessons be like this?
The Imitation Game casts light on a previously untold story of a true hero. Although featuring the predictable ‘odd duckling’ childhood, Alan Turing is an unconventional hero as, through his sheer genius, intellect and perseverance, he succeeded in shortening the Second World War by two years.
We see Turing’s story from three time periods; from his childhood love with a young boy, to post-war Britain, where accusations of homosexuality pushes him towards suicide, and finally in the thick of war, where the battle was not just being fought in the trenches – but in Buckinghamshire. More specifically, Bletchley Park, where the British attempt to break the Nazi’s supposedly unbreakable Enigma Code.
The largely British cast does impeccable justice to the story of this war hero with a great deal of historical accuracy from scriptwriter Graham Moore, a clear admirer of Turing and his work. The film is very much a celebratory spectacle, but is intertwined with a gripping thriller that ensures you leave the cinema inspired and questioning why you weren’t taught about Alan Turing in school.
Man of the moment, Benedict Cumberbatch, plays the role with a great deal of intelligence, leaving us hanging on to his every word right up until the tragic ending. His performance is so captivating and intricate that we can’t help but fall in love with every obscure characteristic, making for truly transfixing cinema. Kiera Knightly supports excellently in the role of Joan, a cryptanalyst assisting Turing, with Mathew Goode giving a notably impressive performance as the charismatic Hugh Alexander. For the majority of the film he leads the rest of the team in opposing Turing – until one hallelujah moment, when Alan’s plan is seconds away from being shut down – and Alexander swoops in.
The film immerses you completely, with new layers added to the plot every minute, to the point where you are so wrapped up it takes the laughably cheesy line – ‘sometimes it is the people who no one imagines anything of, who do the things that no one can imagine’- to remind you that you’re actually watching a film. The performances from Knightly, Cumberbatch, Goode and the rest of the cast left me wishing that the film was another hour in length.
A fantastically well-constructed masterpiece from director Morten Tyldum. So much so that Greenwich Picturehouse will be lucky enough to take another £9 from me at the weekend when I go to watch it for the second time; a must-see for all.