War. What is it good for? Well, how about informing, heart-wrenching, motivational, Oscar worthy movies for one. Seriously though, war has been a source of outstanding cinema for quite a while. Prime examples would be: Full Metal Jacket, Platoon, Red Dawn (the original), Black Hawk Down, and Saving Private Ryan. Now I can proudly announce the newest addition to this list of spectacular: The Imitation Game.
This movie’s story was kept hidden by the government for over 50 years. The story in question takes place during World War II and focuses on Alan Turing, a brilliant mathematician who loves machines and puzzles. He is hired along with a few other college geniuses to hack Nazi codes that are told to be unbreakable. Through some quick wit and charm, Alan becomes the leader of the group and sets out to try a new method of cracking the code.
Right off the bat I have to say Benedict Cumberbatch is absolutely perfect in this role! His performance alone carries this movie! The character of Alan Turing is complex, focused, insane, dangerous, unpredictable, insecure, astute, clever, intense, restrained, confusing, and likeable. It would seem impossible to project all these traits onto the big screen, does it not? Well my friends, Benedict did it. And it is some of the best acting I have ever seen. Besides him, Keira Knightley acts well (which is pleasing since I hated her performance in Pirates of the Caribbean), Matthew Goode, Rory Kinnear, and Charles Dance also give fine performances.
This movie’s direction and sense of pacing are fantastic! With every scene you are watching rich history unfold. Surprisingly, hardly any actual war is shown, yet the film is so thrilling! They accomplished this by the intense character of Alan, the pressure given to the young adults, and the subtle yet powerful score. There are only clips of war damage done and sadly those moments include poorly done CGI, but that is about the only issue I have with the movie. Besides the plot of cracking the code, there is a character twist midway through the film that provides more tension and development. The way they portray this issue is so gritty and serious. The story is so investing that my mind was focused on the movie the entire time you would have to drag me kicking and screaming if you wanted me out of the theater. The opening is especially gripping as it challenges you to sit down and shut up while Alan’s story is told, and man do I have respect for this film because of that.
This is a near-perfect movie hands down. The only minor gripe (besides the CGI) I had with this film was the time period. It is the tiniest bit unnecessarily confusing in the first 30 minutes, but otherwise, this is my favorite war movie next to Saving Private Ryan. This gets Guy’s Guru Grade of an A+.