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Generally favorable reviews - based on 39 Critics What's this?

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8.4

Universal acclaim- based on 47 Ratings

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  • Starring: , , ,
  • Summary: During the winter of 1952, British authorities entered the home of mathematician, cryptanalyst and war hero Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) to investigate a reported burglary. They instead ended up arresting Turing himself on charges of ‘gross indecency’, an accusation that would lead toDuring the winter of 1952, British authorities entered the home of mathematician, cryptanalyst and war hero Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) to investigate a reported burglary. They instead ended up arresting Turing himself on charges of ‘gross indecency’, an accusation that would lead to his devastating conviction for the criminal offense of homosexuality – little did officials know, they were actually incriminating the pioneer of modern-day computing. Famously leading a motley group of scholars, linguists, chess champions and intelligence officers, he was credited with cracking the so-called unbreakable codes of Germany's World War II Enigma machine. [The Weinstein Company] Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 39
  2. Negative: 0 out of 39
  1. Reviewed by: Bill Zwecker
    Dec 11, 2014
    100
    The film works as well as it does due to the genius of Benedict Cumberbatch and the way he has inhabited Alan Turing’s persona.
  2. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Nov 26, 2014
    88
    It's been a long time since intellectual sparring created such excitement onscreen. I've heard a few critics dismiss this mind-bender as hopelessly old-hat. Ha! If so, long live retro. ​
  3. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Dec 18, 2014
    88
    In the end, however, the genius behind all the innovations of Bletchley was destroyed by the pettiness of a society that didn't understand him. The Imitation Game doesn't hide this dark aspect and it makes the production sobering and engrossing.
  4. Reviewed by: Ann Hornaday
    Dec 11, 2014
    75
    Viewers may get the sense that The Imitation Game leaves Turing’s essential mysteries intact, but they will nonetheless find even the most public contours of his story ripe with drama, excitement and deeply affecting resonance.
  5. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Nov 27, 2014
    70
    The Imitation Game is a highly conventional movie about a profoundly unusual man. This is not entirely a bad thing.
  6. Reviewed by: Michael Nordine
    Aug 31, 2014
    67
    It's a reserved, almost conservative performance, and in holding so much back so much of the time, Cumberbatch makes his few outward displays of emotion far more impactful.
  7. Reviewed by: Ed Gonzalez
    Oct 27, 2014
    50
    Given the liberties the film takes, it's surprising that it refuses to penetrate Alan Turing's carnality and allow Benedict Cumberbatch to truly wrestle with the torment of the man's sexuality.

See all 39 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 15
  2. Negative: 1 out of 15
  1. Nov 28, 2014
    10
    This true story of the breaking of the enigma code, which effectively ended World War 2, could so easily have turned out to be one of thoseThis true story of the breaking of the enigma code, which effectively ended World War 2, could so easily have turned out to be one of those overly clichéd and conventional bio-pics. However, in the hands of director Morten Tyldum it has, surprisingly, become so much more. Starting with a smart and dense screenplay, which hones in on three different periods of time in the life of code breaker Alan Turing, the story is utterly compelling. Wisely, it has also been told in a straightforward and un complicated manner and after about 10 minutes one gets a dizzying sense that the film is going to be an absolute gem, a feeling that reaches fulfilment 2 hours later as the credits roll.
    The recreation of time and place has been lovingly captured via excellent production design. In fact, the film is rich in detail. There are breathtaking vistas of war torn Britain which includes shots of bombers wreaking devastation over London and submarines firing rockets, as well as more ordinary depictions of rubble strewn streets and houses. It is also good to see the appropriate use of historic Bletchley Park as a backdrop to where all these events actually unfolded over 70 years ago. The editing seamlessly takes us from year to year without confusion or jarring transitions and the scenes leading up to, and immediately following, the breaking of the code are just thrilling. The music is another plus and whilst not particularly melodic it underscores what is happening on screen brilliantly.
    Criticism has been levelled at the film for not focusing more on Turing’s sexuality which is as untrue as it is unfair. Beyond seeing him actually bonking we have more than enough information as to the effect his sexuality had on his life and, ultimately his death. Scenes of his childhood also give insight into the man he would become. End titles, unlike the recent ‘Foxcatcher’ are also helpful and informative.
    Ultimately, the film belongs to its powerful cast. Benedict Cumberbatch is a revelation and he brings real humanity to the tortured Turing. Some of his moments, particularly near the end, are almost unbearably moving. Keira Knightley is almost his equal in a smaller but crucial role. She has real power here as Turing’s one time fiancé, the lone woman breaker who as it turns out is better than the men. Supporting actors Charles Dance, Rory Kinnear and Mark Strong all contribute characters that are more than mere ciphers. Also, it is to the credit of the boy playing Turing as a young man that we believe in the subsequent actions and performance of Cumberbatch.
    Rarely is a film as all encompassing and engrossing as this one. It is a triumph on every level and a cinematic treat.
    Expand
  2. Dec 1, 2014
    10
    The Imitation Game is quite possibly the finest movie of the year. Pure brilliance to all involved--superbly acted, exceptional direction, andThe Imitation Game is quite possibly the finest movie of the year. Pure brilliance to all involved--superbly acted, exceptional direction, and a screenwriting debut from Graham Moore showing prowess in writing well beyond his years. We find ourselves wondering: how is Alan Turing not a household name? Perhaps now, he finally will be. Expand
  3. Dec 2, 2014
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. An incredible movie with incredible performances. The movie contains both humour and tragedy, but it's perfectly balanced. It tells the true story of Alan Turing and a team of code-breakers who managed to do the impossible; break the German secret code to win the war. Unfortunately, Turing's life ended in undeserved tragedy. Benedict Cumberbatch is brilliant in the role, absolutely incredible. Keira Knightley is absolutely astonishing as the only female code-breakers. Both of them should hear their names called out come Oscar time. I also hope this movie gets best picture and that the cast is nominated for best ensemble. Just a wonderful movie, with important messages that tells us the story about the life of a great WWII hero that no one knew about. Expand
  4. Dec 13, 2014
    8
    A well-crafted biopic about hard choices and extraordinary circumstances and one man's struggle to cope with them while wrestling withA well-crafted biopic about hard choices and extraordinary circumstances and one man's struggle to cope with them while wrestling with challenges of his own (and that he must necessarily keep secret). Although a bit formulaic at times, the film shines on most fronts, especially in its acting, period piece production values and ability to genuinely generate suspense. A strong contender to take home top honors as this year's best picture. Expand
  5. Dec 4, 2014
    8
    The Imitation Game has all the key moments to make it to the Oscars. The heart and soul of this movie is Alan Turing whose brilliant workThe Imitation Game has all the key moments to make it to the Oscars. The heart and soul of this movie is Alan Turing whose brilliant work saved millions of lives in WW2. The actors give in depth performances to make this an award winning movie. Expand
  6. Dec 17, 2014
    8
    Alan Turing was a key figure in helping the allies win World War II. Known for his expertise as a mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst, andAlan Turing was a key figure in helping the allies win World War II. Known for his expertise as a mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst, and philosopher, he was a pioneering computer scientist who created the template for what would become the computers we use today. However, his accomplishments were never publicly known due to his criminal prosecution for being a homosexual.
    Benedict Cumberbatch stars as Turing, and along with his team of code-breakers, were responsible for cracking Nazi Germany's Enigma code. This is particularly important as this was the Nazi's primary code for communicating with its forces around the world. Many of the worlds brightest minds had tried and failed to find the solution to the complex code, but it was this group of minds at Britains top-secret overnment Code and Cypher School at Bletchley Park (Charles Dance), a head strong military man with his suspicions about Turing, and MI6's Stewart Menzies (Mark Strong), who has a keen interest in the results of the groups work.
    After several unsuccessful tries at breaking the code, Turing began his work to develop a machine that could find a way to break the code on its own. Turing took his thoughts directly to Prime Minister Winston Churchill and was given ultimate power over the project. Assembling a team which consisted of scholars, mathematicians, linguists, a chess champion, the team continued to search for an answer to the riddle while Turing began his work on the machine. Turing, being a socially awkward person, found it difficult to work in a group setting and alienated himself from his coworkers. The caring voice of Joan Clarke (Keira Knightley), a brilliant mathematician who would aid Turing into winning the trust of his team, would become his most trusted confidant. The clock was ticking on the group to crack the code as the war began to reach a breaking point for the allies. The pressure to achieve his life's goal was beginning to take hold.
    We experience the troubled childhood of the young genius as his deals with the loss of his most cherished love, we endure the journey of the genius responsible for the end of the war, and we suffer through the the tragedy of his post-war decline following his conviction for gross indecency, but we are rewarded with the story of a brave, tortured soul who became a national treasure. The performance of Benedict Cumberbatch is one to cherish. The portrayal of such a frail human spirit who defied the odds and shaped the history of the world is inspiring and Oscar worthy. Keira Knightley is strong, charming and a perfect compliment to Cumberbatch. Each scene between the two was magical. Matthew Goode is tremendous as Turing's reluctant ally. Goode engaged his characters spirit head on and challenged Cumberbatch's Turing as a chess champion would. Each member of the remaining cast, including the wonderful Mark Strong, was sensational with each providing a wonderful compliment to the telling of the story.
    Overall, The Imitation Game is an absolute treasure and should no doubt hear its name called at nomination time this year. A captivating story of loss and tragedy, but also one of triumphant victory which will no doubt engulf you in your thoughts of how sexual persecution has crippled our society for too long. Alan Turing deserved better, thankfully he has finally gotten his due.
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  7. Dec 3, 2014
    3
    THE IMITATION GAME is a 'nice" movie. And that's it's core problem. This middle-brow entertainment makes WWII, misogyny, and homophobiaTHE IMITATION GAME is a 'nice" movie. And that's it's core problem. This middle-brow entertainment makes WWII, misogyny, and homophobia digestible for an audience that clearly does not want to be challenged or believe the world can truly suck. The film feels like a network TV movie from the 1980s which would deal with adult issues all with a very pretty little bow and a post-script that would often indicate the opposite. In its last moments, THE IMITATION GAME, suddenly underscores the homosexuality of Alan Turing who is depicted as asexual throughout. So why the fuss? And then there is the plot driven AH-HAH moment when out of a simple convo the enigma code is broken! Isn't it time we stopped making films like this? Expand

See all 15 User Reviews

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