Review: The Imitation Game

THE IMITATION GAME directed by Morten.

THE IMITATION GAME directed by Morten Tyldum, written by Graham Moore from the book by Andrew Hodges, with Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Rory Kinnear, Allen Leech, Charles Dance and Mark Strong. An Elevation Pictures release. 114 minutes. Opens Friday (December 12). For venues and times, see Movies. Rating: NNNN

First-rate performances and an irresistibly exciting and moving story help this drama rise above the traditional biopic.

Brilliant Cambridge mathematician and cryptanalyst Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) is hired by the British government to crack the Germans’ Enigma code during the Second World War. Used to working solo (he’d eventually lay the ground for the modern computer), he must collaborate with a team of misfit geniuses and keep their work a secret. Also secret is his homosexuality, which after the war gets him persecuted by the country he helped save.

Shuttling back and forth between three time periods, the script is often blunt, especially in a repeated line of dialogue about nonconformists doing extraordinary things. Director Morten Tyldum also adds some unnecessary archival war footage.

But the film explores fascinating moral issues in its final third. Cumberbatch is a revelation as the socially inept man who fights for his dignity, and he’s given strong support by Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Charles Dance, Rory Kinnear and Mark Strong as intriguing variables in Turing’s complex personal equation.

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