Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) rushes to finish his code-breaking computer in the Imitation Game.

Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) rushes to finish his code-breaking computer in the Imitation Game.

REEL REVIEWS: Cumberbatch provides the real thing

Taylor and Howe provide their thoughts on The Imitation Game

  • Jan. 30, 2015 4:00 p.m.

Mathematician and logician Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) works with a group of other like-minded number crunchers attempting to crack the Enigma code used by Germans during the Second World War.

While Turing’s counterparts worked on more conventional ciphers, Turing built a machine that could “solve any number of permutations,” arguably inventing computer science.

We say, “The Imitation Game is one of the great films of 2014.”

TAYLOR: I didn’t know much about Turing before watching this film. I knew about the Turing test, because it was used in Blade Runner to determine if the Replicants were human or not. But I had no idea he worked on the Enigma code. I also didn’t know he was a homosexual, or that the British government persecuted gays, even to the extent of chemical castration, which was forced upon Turing, who ultimately killed himself in the ‘50s. So, for ignoramus’ like myself, this was an educational movie. Fortunately, it is also extremely well put together and features strong performances. Imagine that Pete, another quality movie from England!

HOWE: When was the last time we reviewed a movie from England that was anything other than quality? I just wish that Hollywood would take note on how to make a true story war film (by that I mean by not adding some lame side story that didn’t actually happen) and not give us such drivel as American Sniper or Unbroken.

The story is intriguing and I think should be shown in history class as Turing played a massive part in the outcome of the Second World War.

I know we covered the story of the Enigma machine in class back in the mid ‘80s but not to this extent, I too found it very educational.

TAYLOR: Turing was a bit of an odd duck, anti-social and off-putting. Cumberbatch captures that oddness very well. The rest of the cast, while strong, only really have to put up with his arrogant and somehow sour demeanour. Such as it is, while I enjoyed the film and found it informative and entertaining, it was not particularly powerful or moving.

I think the Imitation Game could have benefited from a little more B-story.

The torment, if I may, of building the code breaking machine as his country men are dying seems to pale in comparison to the persecution he suffered, simply because he was homosexual in a time and place where it was illegal.

Yet, the filmmakers barely scratch the surface of what would have been a more emotional and involving plot device.

Still, this is a very fine movie and an interesting tale.

HOWE: I know I have slated her in the past for her terrible, terrible acting, but Keira Knightley portrayed her role as Joan Clarke very well, and I think she deserves her Oscar nomination as supporting actress, despite the fact that she still talks through clenched teeth.

Howe gives the Imitation Game 4.5 underground stations out of 5.

Taylor gives it 4 Chinese Rooms out of 5.

The Imitation Game is showing at Galaxy Cinemas.