So I really love Keira Knightley. Like, a lot. She’s still in my top three lady crushes. When I saw she was doing a film with globally loved alienman Benefits Custardlatch, my heart raced back to Atonement times and I got a little weak in my joints. WWII things + Knightley + Cuttlefish usually = good things. In the case of The Imitation Game, a biopic on Alan Turing’s time as part of the war effort (and inadvertent invention of the computer), we have another wiener.
When I categorise movies in my brain, I tend to group nationality together. I see UK films, American films, Australian films and Other/World films in their own separate baskets. Makes sense yeah? Well, I’ve recently discovered that I also group via adjective. For example, I frequently use the word decent or solid to talk about films that have a strong narrative tension, and could be seen as a little more “high brow” than others (no, not Art House films guys.) Typically, they tend to refer to UK films, so in my head, UK = decent film. The Bucket List is an American film that springs to mind outside of my apparent geographical restrictions, but films like Calendar Girls, Anna Karenina (another Knightley *swoon*), The Boat That Rocked etc. feature on this list. I think you’re getting the idea.
In any case, I’m here to pop The Imitation Game into the Decent Basket. Wowsers.
Casting was obviously impeccable. Blatantly Cucumberscratch once again turned it on as the amazing genius that is Alan Turing. Knightley kicked ass as his contemporary in both brains and brawn, Joan Clarke, and together they had a really lovely chemistry. I don’t know much about their off-screen relationship, but it felt as if there’s an organic and underlying bond between them that translated effortlessly in The Imitation Game.
The supporting cast, which includes crown wearers such as Charles Dance, Mark Strong, and the guy who played the Irish chauffeur in Downton Abbey, is also stellar. Matthew Goode (who I fell in love with in Stoker) packs a punch or two opposite towering pillars of acting finesse, which made me love him all the more.
There’s something truly magical that happens when a great cast tackle an incredibly significant project, and the result of this one is all the stronger for the casting.
As for the actual content of the film: aside from delving into the mysteries of breaking the Enigma machine and creating Christopher (the world’s first “computer”), we also get a moving glimpse into Turing’s personal struggles with relationships and mental instability. It’s a really well-grounded film, and despite the magnitude of the undertaking at Bletchley Park, nothing about this biopic is overstated. The ending caught me off-guard, but it also highlighted the horrendous treatment even the best of us can be subjected to, in spite of our contributions to the world. It was a bit of a stab to the heartfeels to be honest.
I really enjoyed this film. It wasn’t one that will stay with me forever or that I’ll need to see again in three days time, but I am grateful to know more about the amazing Alan Turing, and his team of ragtag bandits who just wanted to end the war.