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The Imitation Game

Directed by Morten Tyldum

UK, 2014

Cornerhouse, 16 November 2014

The Imitation Game

Turing’s wartime work at Bletchley Park and his sexuality, which naturally considering the law of the land at the time he sought to hide, are the focus of the film.

Happily, Benedict Cumberbatch and Alex Lawther, the young actor who plays Turing as a boy, manage to capture (you feel) the essence of his character: note in particular their off-tempo hesitancy, an almost-stutter at certain moments: a characteristic of Turing that many remarked upon.  In respect to period detail, brisk dramatic pace and strong supporting performances the film pretty much gets it right as well.  A few doubts do arise about its accuracy, mind.  For one thing, the title of Turing’s famous paper, the one where he introduced a test for whether a machine could think, was actually ‘Computing Machinery and Intelligence’, not ‘The Imitation Game’, as he says here when being interviewed by a police officer.  And was Alexander really such a ladies man?

Still, after the war what went on at Bletchley Park was hushed up and all but forgotten.  It is therefore welcome to have this film as a belated public acknowledgement of the significance of Turing’s and others’ (Jack Good, CHO’D Alexander) achievements.

A splendid film.