Awards season is in full swing in L.A. and I’ve been going to a lot of screenings. Tonight is Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper with Bradley Cooper as Chris Kyle and later this week is Into the Woods. Both movies will be released December 25. Check back for those reviews.

imitation-gameToday I’m talking about The Imitation Game (out November 28), based on Andrew Hodges’s book Alan Turing: The Enigma, starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Turing, who’s widely regarded as the father of digital intelligence and the modern computer.

The film covers the period during World War II when Turing built a machine that cracked the Germans’ Enigma encryption, helping the Allies win the war and saving millions of lives. Turing and his colleagues were not allowed to talk about their work, and instead of being heralded a hero, Turing was prosecuted for indecency because he was gay.

Cumberbatch’s performance is top-notch. I wonder if he’s being pigeonholed as the go-to actor to play abrasive, antisocial geniuses, but here he has moments of vulnerability not seen in his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes in the BBC series or Julian Assange in The Fifth Estate.

Even more heartrending is Alex Lawther, who plays the young Turing in flashbacks. Lawther has mastered the trick of displaying no expression on his face while showing clearly the emotional devastation that lies right beneath his skin.

The actors playing Turing’s fellow cryptanalysts, including Keira Knightley as Joan Clarke and Matthew Goode as Hugh Alexander, are all solid. Director Morten Tyldum, who had previously directed another screen adaptation of a book (Jo Nesbo’s crime novel Headhunters), manages to inject an element of suspense into a story mostly about people sitting around trying to crack a code. Game moves you and makes you feel smarter—the type of film Hollywood needs more of.

Nerd verdict: Smart Imitation 

Photo: The Weinstein Company




  • Reply
    November 24, 2014 at 9:47 am

    I saw a play about Turing a long time ago and do not have Cumberfever, so wasn’t inclined to see this one, but I may rethink that. Good cast. Will be looking forward to the American Sniper and Into The Woods reviews! Usually avoid Cooper, but the story might intrigue me enough to have a gander. What else are you really looking forward to?

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      November 24, 2014 at 10:11 am

      I am not a big fan of Eastwood or Cooper, but I heard this is
      Eastwood’s best movie in years (not hard to say when his last movie was JERSEY BOYS) and that nothing Cooper has ever done comes close to what he does in this movie. So, I’m curious. Will let you know.

      I’m looking forward to WOODS and STILL ALICE and THEORY OF EVERYTHING and UNBROKEN.

      • Reply
        November 24, 2014 at 10:24 am

        I like much of Eastwood’s stuff, so that was a plus for me (Jersey Boys notwithstanding). Can’t WAIT to see Unbroken. Recently listened to the audiobook and it was fantastic. Plus the connection between Louie and Angelina was so incredible. Still Alice will be interesting. That book was such a gut-puncher.

  • Reply
    November 24, 2014 at 11:38 am

    I will put this on the list of movies that, hopefully, John might feel up to seeing. Thanks for an outstanding review.

  • Reply
    November 24, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    Feeling a little jealous of your ability to see movies in advance, but always appreciate your insight. Heard a lot about Imitation Game and have been looking forward to seeing it. Would not normally be interested in seeing something called American Sniper, but really enjoyed what Cooper did in Silver Linings and remain a cautious, optimistic fan.

Leave a Reply