An Oscar-bait performance that truly lives up to the hype.
The end of the year marks the beginning of the great Oscar race and this year, there is not one but two contenders that tell the tales of brilliant British scientists who have bad things happen to them. The first is “The Theory of Everything” that tells the life story of the well-known physicist, Stephen Hawking, while the other, “The Imitation Game,” is of the lesser-known and arguably more tragic mathematician Alan Turing. While few may have heard of the latter, nearly all of us benefit from the work he did which lead to the eventual invention of the computer.
Set primarily during World War II, most of the movie focuses on Turing’s effort to crack the so-called unbreakable Nazi enigma code. Unlike most heroes, Turing is neither dashing nor physically strong. Rather, as portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch in a wonderful performance, he is eccentric, socially awkward and far more comfortable around his code-breaking machine, which he calls “Christopher” than he is around people. Flashbacks to Turing’s days as schoolboy shed light on why he chose to call his machine that name and the interactions between him and his only friend-slash-first love interest are some of the most moving scenes of the year.
While “The Imitation Game” is not perfect and can drag a bit at times–especially when documenting mechanics–it nonetheless is one of the best movies of 2014. Whether you are familiar with Turing’s story or not, the movie will certainly leave you remembering who he was and how he lived up to a oft-repeated quote in the film that sometimes it is the people no one imagines anything of who do the things that no one can imagine.