Start marking your Oscar ballot. The Imitation Game is why I go to movies. It’s smart, brilliantly acted, well-paced, and just darn great. Alan Turing, was a genius British logician and cryptologist. Hired on to a team, this unique man followed his own path and created the machine that cracked the Enigma Code – the Nazis secret communication device. Who knew that mathematics could be exciting? Benedict Cumberbatch brings the quirks of Turing to life. This is a man keeping secrets with no social skills whatsoever. He is the smartest man in the room, which does not make friends.
However, Keira Knightley’s Joan recognizes the man behind the brittle exterior. She too can solve puzzles in minutes and helps him tease out a solution. She is willing to marry him despite his secret (he is a homosexual back when that was against the law), and implores him to consider that they could have an “arrangement”. They are odd ducks in the world. We go back and forth in time – we see Turing under arrest and his tortured life. We see Turing as a hero – however, complicated the issues. Matthew Goode, on the team, is the popular guy who ultimately recognizes Turing’s ridiculous vision and is a key to keeping that vision alive.
The excitement of solving the Enigma is well done. And then the full measure of that success has issues. Yes, they helped the Allies win the war two years earlier than projected, but lives were still lost so as not to let the Nazis know what they knew. Alan Turing’s life story is tortured, but this is the man who begat computers. He would be astonished at where his vision took us. The Imitation Game is Oscar worthy and just sheer intelligent film entertainment.