Review of The Imitation Game


Jordan Siegler

Photo courtesy of The Weinstein Company

By Jordan Siegler

As the Sports Director of Q30 Television, my focus is usually on reporting about the Quinnipiac athletics. But I also have a deep passion for film and so that is why I am branching out and writing my first movie review.

The film I will be reviewing here is The Imitation Game starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley. This is a film that I have been looking forward to for quite a while as it has been gaining a lot of awards buzz over the last few months and I am a huge Benedict Cumberbatch fan.

The film centers on mathematician Alan Turing and the story of how he and his fellow code breakers cracked the German message coding system “Enigma” and helped end the war.

But while watching this Turing and his team work and eventually crack the code is exciting and interesting, the true star of this film is Alan Turing the man.

For those who don’t know, in addition to being a brilliant mathematician, Alan Turing was also a homosexual in a time where homosexuality was an imprisonable offense.

Benedict Cumberbatch absolutely nails this role. I cannot overstate how great he is in this film and it ultimately makes the movie for me. With homosexuality being a punishable crime, Turing has to hide this fact about him and Cumberbatch does a great job showing the pain Turing goes through having to hide.


Photo Courtesy of The Weinstein Company
Photo courtesy of The Weinstein Company

This is what makes the title of the film so perfect. Not only is The Imitation Game the title of a paper Turing wrote, but it’s also what he has to do throughout the film. He has to pretend that he’s not gay and then also get over his general social awkwardness to get his colleagues to work with him to break enigma. He is trying to imitate what normal is considered to be. It makes the line that Keira Knightley’s Joan Clarke delivers towards the end of the film so much more poignant. She says “Sometimes it is the people no one imagines anything of who do the things that no one can imagine.”

This is the general message of the film. That just because a person is different from what we may consider “normal” doesn’t mean they are not capable of great things. I think it’s an important one and one that the film succeeds in getting across.

But again, much of that success is due to the absolutely incredible performance by Benedict Cumberbatch. He and the film as a whole did a great job in showing us the difficulties that people go through when they live in a society that tells them they are not allowed to be who they are. I believe that Cumberbatch should and will be nominated for an Academy Award for this performance.

Aside from Cumberbatch, the other performances are all great. Keira Knightley is great as Turing friend and fellow code breaker Joan Clarke. Her chemistry with Cumberbatch is great and you understand why they connect. Joan is a woman who aspires to be more than just a secretary making them both people living in a society that tells them that they should be different from what they are. Matthew Goode is also great as Hugh Alexander, another cryptanalyst working on “Engima”. He provides a great counter balance to Cumberbatch’s Turing.

Photo Courtesy of StudioCanal
Photo courtesy of The Weinstein Company

The one gripe I had with this movie, albeit a small one, is it’s use of flash forwards. In the beginning of the story, you’re not sure what their purpose is and they feel out of place. However, as the movie progresses it becomes clear what they’re there for and they become more interesting.

Overall, The Imitation Game is a great film about a great man with some great performances by some amazing actors. This definitely one that you should go see if it’s playing near you and one you should watch out for come awards season.