Really solid performances by Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley are the highlights of “The Imitation Game,” which tells the story of genius mathematician Alan Turing and his quest to create a machine that can break the German Enigma Code during World War II.
Historical thrillers / biopics / war films that are based on true events achieve brilliance not because of the plot, but because journey towards the film’s outcome. Take “Lincoln,” for example. The 2012 historical drama film about President Abraham Lincoln’s efforts to pass the 13th Amendment bore no factual surprises; we all know it passes. But it’s Steven Spielberg’s execution of the screenplay that gave us so much emotional attachments to the characters and the outcome. Like “Lincoln”, we all know the historical outcome depicted in “The Imitation Game,” that Turing ultimately does develop the machine that would propel the Allied Forces to victory in the war. But the journey Turing takes towards completing the machine is what keeps us glued to the screen.
Turing’s character reminds me of Gregory House, from the TV Show; the misanthropic genius who is obsessed with solving puzzles, has a devastating childhood, and doesn’t play by the rules. Cumberbatch rightfully deserves the Oscar Nomination for Best Actor, and I wouldn’t mind spending a few hours at the theatre in his world.