The Imitation Game Review

The Imitation Game

What does a war hero look like?

Someone in uniform?

Someone with a gun?

Someone in uniform, with a gun as well as a few rippling biceps and some alpha male styled facial hair?

Alan Turing was none of these things, but he just might be the greatest war hero in Britain’s long and not always terribly distinguished history.

The year is 1950 something, and Professor Turing of Manchester University has returned home to discover he’s been victim to a dastardly break in where nothing was actually stolen.

Some of his good christian neighbours alert the local police to this disturbance, and soon enough some incompetent bobby’s are taken from their beat to investigate.

Being a fiendishly clever chap, Turing isn’t the type to suffer fools lightly – as our foolhardy coppers soon discover.

But Turing’s contempt inspires one of these officers of the law to dig a little deeper into his background, triggering a series of revelations and events that carry terrible consequence for this country’s most brilliant yet anonymous war hero.

I saw The Imitation Game on the opening day of this year’s London Film Festival and, god knows how many films later, it was still the best thing I’d seen.

Apart from showcasing some of Britain’s foremost acting talent, including a stellar performance from Cumberbatch that will only increase his cult appeal, The Imitation Game shines a Hollywood spotlight on the incredible feats of Alan Turing.

Not only did his code-cracking work help turn the second world war, saving millions of lives in the process, but these same ideas also make Turing the ‘father’ of the modern computer you’re probably using in some form or another to read these words.

But Turing wasn’t like other people, he was different – so instead of being recognised for his brilliant achievements, Turing was hung out to dry by the British government for the apparently heinous crime of being gay.

Director Morten Tyldum, who you may remember from such films as the excellent Headhunters, helps set Turing’s record, ah, straight in a far more influential way than his posthumous pardoning a couple of years ago ever could.

Thanks to Graham Moore, who adapted Hodges’ The Imitation Game for the big screen, Turing’s code-cracking exploits also translate into a cracking good yarn, with a little help from Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Mark Strong and Charles Dance.

All of which makes The Imitation Game one of those films people will want to watch again and again.

For a man like Alan Turing, Britain’s greatest war hero no less, I can think of few better ways to restore his good name.

Jonathan Campbell

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November 2014
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