Friday, October 17, 2014

The Imitation Game

Ever since his big break in Sherlock four years ago (and once or twice before then), Benedict Cumberbatch has specialized a particular role: the flawed genius. The brilliant mind who earns equal praise and contempt from his peers for his intelligence and arrogance, the latter ultimately leading to his downfall. Is it typecasting? Perhaps, but you can't deny he's good at the role.

He continues this trend in Morten Tyldum's The Imitation Game as Alan Turing, the mathematician who cracked Germany's enigma code during World War II. Like many of his other roles, Cumberbatch just radiates an energy unlike any other actor working today. You simply can't take your eyes off him when he's onscreen.

It wasn't arrogance that brought Turing down but rather his lifestyle. (Turing had the misfortune of living in a time where homosexuality was a criminal offence.) But the film doesn't dwell too much on Turing's private life as it does with his achievements, which is both a positive (one shouldn't be judged on their sexual preference) and a negative (opinions on sexuality were much different 60-70 years ago than they are now).

Like several of his last few films, Cumberbatch is alongside an impressive roster of actors. Among some of them are Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Allen Leech, Charles Dance, Mark Strong and Rory Kinnear. They're all good, but Knightley's easily the best of them. Most of her past roles have her as only prim and genteel. Here, she has a much more well-rounded role. (And this is coming from someone not overly fond of her, mind you.)

Although cold in some scenes, The Imitation Game stays mostly consistent throughout. The acting and directing are very good, and Alexandre Desplat's score is simply gorgeous. (Very reminiscent of his work for Atonement.) Though flawed, the film shines a light on a man who was praised in secret and condemned for all to see.

My Rating: ****1/2

1 comment:

  1. I really want to see it, but it's a shame to read it focuses more on the Enigma thing than his lifestyle - this should be highlighted to show the ignorance of the time, one that is still out there in the world.


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