It’s easy to see why The Imitation Game garnered so much Oscar-buzz over the course of the past few months; it’s a downright fantastic film.
The primary reason this historical thriller works so well is Benedict Cumberbatch’s astounding performance as Alan Turing. Bringing the iconic mathematician to life couldn’t have been easy, but Cumberbatch accomplishes this enormous task with a rich and deeply-layered turn. Our hero is intelligent, arrogant, and brimming with all sorts of strange quirks. It’s the kind of star-making turn that wows you on every level, and it proves that his recent Academy Award nomination is extremely well deserved.
Although her performance is less showy, Keira Knightly also does a superb job as the cryptanalyst Joan Clark. I’ve never been too fond of the actress, but she’s pleasant and sharp as Alan Turing’s partner in crime. However, the real MVP in the supporting cast is Matthew Goode. Fresh off his equally charming role on The Good Wife, Goode is an excellent foil to Cumberbatch’s Alan. He’s charismatic, and never once unlikeable. All in all, this is a cast that bounces off one other beautifully.
Skilfully directed by Morten Tyldum, The Imitation Game is not content with staying in one time period for too long. The film constantly jumps back and forth between different moments in Turing’s life. Cinematographer Óscar Faura gives each of these scenes distinct hues and color palettes that ensure viewers are never lost. Fuara’s images are strikingly-composed, and alongside William Goldberg’s expert editing, they manage to craft an engaging exploration of one man’s captivating mind.
The Imitation Game is an incredibly well-made period drama, and thanks to Cumberbatch’s complex performance, it’s also quite affecting.