2014 Movie Reviews: The Imitation Game

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Happy New Year everybody! I saw this movie back on January 1st, but wasn’t able to write a review due to technical issues. But everything’s working now, and I’m here to tell you about the Weinstein company’s biggest Oscar contender, The Imitation Game. There was a time where some people saw this film as a serious threat to win Best Picture. Having seen quite a few Best Picture winners, I can say it fits the bill for what a Best Picture winner looks like. True story of a genius mind that faced serious obstacles throughout his life, respected actors, and to top it all off, British. The problem is, it’s up against The Theory Of Everything, a film which also fits that criteria.

On one hand, I feel I should dislike this film on the grounds of being a biopic, but It’s a very good biopic. It hits all the right beats, and doesn’t pretend like it’s saying something it isn’t. It certainly helps that the story of Alan Turing is a fascinating one, and one that deserves the big-screen treatment. I feel that this film does a better job than Theory in many regards.

There are, however, some drawbacks. For example, any time they cut to the war action, with tanks and planes and stuff, the CGI is so phony it could easily pass for a video game cutscene. There’s also the fact that the film takes place over a number of decades, and yet, little to no makeup is used to age the cast. Those two facts make me wonder what the budget for this must have been.

Of course the film has a great performance at its center by Benedict Cumberbatch. I would completely understand if he won the Oscar because of how baity the role is and how much he succeeds at it. But Man, Best Actor is CROWDED this year. The remainder of the cast are okay, but they don’t really add much. I liked the kid who played a young Alan Turing. Kiera Knightley is okay, but there wasn’t a lot to her performance. It just seemed like a baity role that’ll be nominated for that reason alone.

And yet, because of the lead performance, the writing, and the directing, the film pulls through. But I think what grabbed me about the film was that it spoke to me on a very emotional level. I think it is a very well made film, but the emotion that it envied pushed it over the edge for me.

****1/2

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