A film, food, travel & lifestyle blog by Sophie Elizabeth

2 December 2014

Film Review: The Imitation Game (Morten Tyldum, 2014) ★★★★

Benedict Cumberbatch stars in the Alan Turing biopic, The Imitation Game
The true story of Alan Turing's unhappy teenage years at boarding school, inability to socially interact with his peers, triumph of war time and post-war anguish . During the darkest days of World War II, the race is on for Turing (Cumberbatch) and his team of code breakers at Britain's top secret Government Code and Cypher Code at Bletchley Park. With time against them, a team of scholars, mathematicians, linguists, chess champions and intelligence officers must decipher the Nazi Naval code in the hopes of winning the war; but the tragedy of Turing's post-war decline shortly follows when he is exposed as a homosexual.

"Are you listening?" - The opening scene establishes Cumberbatch's unmistakable voice - directly addressing the audience in the hopes that they will give their undivided attention to the true events that are about to unfold. During the winter of 1952, Police enter the home of mathematician, cryptanalyst and war hero Alan Turing to investigate a reported burglary. On arrival, a dismissive Turing raises suspicions - causing one of the officers to do some further investigation. The result sees Turing arrested for 'gross indecency', and accusation that would lead to devastating conviction for the then criminal offence of homosexuality. Unbeknown to the officers, they had incriminated the pioneer of contemporary computing and a hero whose mind led to the success of Britain in WWII. Once interviewed by Police, the narrative reverts back to the life of Turing.  

Morten Tyldum's previous films have been that of crime thrillers, nitty-gritty and primarily Norwegian speaking. Cut then to Bletchley Park - British tea, picnic blankets and Queen's English combined with Graham Moore's debuting screenplay. Despite their inexperience in such a genre or screenplay, Tyldum's direction and Moore's screen-writing produce something quite beautiful - a narrative which pulls at the heart strings whilst portraying the attitudes and experiences during British war-time. Each shot is artistically choreographed and captured with an eye for detail while they fade seamlessly from one another twinned with a perfectly executed script with no questionable dialogue. This is brought to life further by it's cast. Benedict Cumberbatch has yet again proven himself to be one of the greatest actors of his generation - from one role as a psychotic Khan in Star Trek, a greedy firebreathing Dragon in The Hobbit: The Desolution of Smaug to a socially inadequate, severely depressed mathematician and war hero.

Written purely for cinematic effect is the relationship represented in Turing and Joan Clarke, Turing's war-time fiancée until he ended the relationship and expressed to her that he was in fact homosexual. This came as no surprise to Joan but their bond remains at the forefront of the film. While the film makes their engagement out to be far more then it truly was in actual events, the narrative is ultimately endearing and allows the character development of Turing to be fully explored as he attempts to bond with his fellow code breakers who at first despise him for his blunt manor and inability to interact. They're partnership, however, does not take away from the true theme of the film - the suspense built in breaking the German's Enigma code - an action that would save thousands of lives and regain Britain's success in the war.

The narrative works in a way that it builds you up, only to break you. As an audience viewing a biopic, the director knows there is an assumption in the events, his job is merely to show them the best he can. In doing so, we see the cruel treatment Turing endured as a child at boarding school, to the heartbreak of losing his first love - his relationship with Clarke and finally his enormous success with Enigma and all the while we are routing for him - forgetting we know it cannot last. Having been arrested for being a homosexual in 1952, Turing is given the choice of chemical castration with side effects that affect his mind and nervous system or two years in prison. As an audience, previously we were lured in to a full sense of security having seen him rise from the ashes - so that Turing's suicide comes as a powerful blow. And it does.

In many ways, in making a biopic, it is difficult to execute a well known story successfully but The Imitation Game does this perfectly. A fantastic screenplay, paired with an all-star cast, director and a remarkable story, The Imitation Game is set to take home Oscar's this Academy Awards. A truly moving, beautifully shot and well-written piece of cinema about a real War hero who never received the admiration he deserved - Royally pardoned only in 2012 and thanked for his efforts during the war. The Imitation Game gets a Sophie star rating of 4 out of 5 stars and I can't wait to see how this one does come the 2015 Oscars. 

"Sometimes it is the people no one imagines anything of who do the things that no one can imagine."
-Alan Turing

Apologises for the delayed review on this one. I'm finding that the more you love or are moved by a film, the harder it is just to express why. I'd love to hear your thoughts on it if you have seen it already. I urge you all to see it if you get a chance or at least to educate yourself on Alan Turing if you haven't already.

 I also just wanted to say a quick thank you for all the emails I've been receiving lately for collaborations and film review requests. I promise to get back to all of you as soon as I can and have the reviews up so bear with me but please keep them coming because I love hearing from you all and I'm excited for some up and coming collabs.

Until next time movie fans,



  1. I want to watch this, I know some of the extras that were used as they were asking for boys in our local area! Abi :)

    1. It really is a great film if you get a chance to watch it! It'll make you cry! Let me know what you thought of it xx

  2. I really wanted to see this film, after reading your review I have to go now.
    Zeynab x
    The Beautifully Disastrous

    1. Aw that's lovely of you to say! I hope you enjoy it - I'd love to know what you think of it x

  3. I've wanted to see this ever since I heard Cumberbatch was cast. I think this may be one of the first films to make me actually cry.


    1. I know, the cast and subject matter alone meant it was sure to be a great film but was very enjoyable. I don't ever cry but there was a few times that this nearly got me! Thanks for reading my review :) x

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