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  • johnmcc15015 November 2014
    Warning: Spoilers
    As the film announces at the start, it based on a true story. The essentials are true, and to get so much history into a film things have to be condensed. Unfortunately unnecessarily inaccurate things were portrayed which didn't save any time. For example, Turing mutters under his breath so most audiences will not notice, that the Poles made the first crucial breakthrough. By the start of the war, the Poles led by Marian Rejewski had been breaking Enigma for over six years and built the first machine, called a "bomba" in 1938.

    In July 1939 the Poles passed on all the information to the French and British including details of the bomba and their successes at a meeting which included Denniston. The problem started to mount for the Poles and later the British when other rotors could be swapped in and the indicator method was changed by the Germans. The film is correct in showing that Turing's genius was using known words from the coded messages to reduce the myriad of possibilities. This idea happened in 1939 and so he started from the outset to design the British "bombes" to use this method, not after they had been running for months.

    Four senior code-breakers, not just Alan Turing, but also Gordon Welchman, Stuart Milner-Barry and Hugh Alexander wrote to Churchill in 1941 over Denniston's head about the shortage of staff and praising Edward Travis. In February 1942, Denniston was demoted and transferred elsewhere. His successor, Edward Travis, transformed the procedures.

    Cairncross, played by Downton's ex-chauffeur, never appeared at Bletchley until 1942 and the alleged blackmail is an unnecessary red-herring.

    The idea that there would be a chart on the wall in Hut 8 showing the latest positions of all Atlantic convoys is laughable. This chart was in a secure bunker in Liverpool that was as closely guarded as Bletchley Park.

    Turing's team had no input into how the information was to be used, but it is true that Ultra intelligence had to be supported by other information and so patrols were sent out to find what was known to be already there.

    Lastly Turing would never, ever, have disclosed even the existence of Bletchley Park to a detective he had just met.

    The performance of Benedict Comberbatch is exceptional, and the rest of the cast good. Keira Knightley is pretty enough to have turned even Turing, but, despite the lines that told us, she never gave the impression she had a double first in mathematics from Cambridge.

    Good film, though it could have be closer to reality without making it longer or more complex.
  • Truly excellent film and definitely Ocsar worthy material for both the film and the actors. The entire cast are amazing.

    As Cumberbatch says near the start of the film "are you paying attention". You should pay attention, Alan Turing deserves your attention, his story deserves to be told.

    I went to see this at the London Film Festival last week and I am going to be one of the first ones in the cue to see it when it comes out next month. It is an excellently paced and executed script that has you gripped from beginning to end. The whole audience were laughing and applauding and crying in places, including the man next to me who had to borrow a hankie from his wife.

    The film switches between the drive of the team of code breakers to solve the Enigma code, young Alan Turing and the events after the war that destroyed his life.

    It is truly heartbreaking in places, and Benedict Cumberbatch's performance as Alan Turing is outstanding. He really deserves an Oscar nomination for his performance.

    It has been a very, VERY long time since I enjoyed a film so much, that when I came out of the Cinema I wanted to turn right round and go back in and watch it again. A lovely script that had you switching back and forwards between tears and laughter.

    I know some wanted a more in depth and in detail look at Alan Turing's life and have commented frequently that this does no focus enough on his sexuality or the events after the war.

    In this case I think less is more, this film highlights the man and the mind. It shows us the genius that was destroyed by a society that was seriously homophobic. It brings to life the man behind the facts and we laugh at his interactions with his fellow code breakers and cheer as he proves his theories and our hearts break as we watch him try to cope after his court case.

    One of the best films I have seen in a long time. Go and see judge for yourself.
  • Brilliant adaptation of the story of Bletchley Park and the cryptanalysis team, ran by Alan Turing, that cracked the code of the German Enigma Machine during World War II. Featuring an outstanding starring performance from Benedict Cumberbatch as war hero Turning and supporting acts from a brilliant cast including Keira Knightley, Charles Dance and Mark Strong, 'The Imitation Game' is a powerful and eminently well-made biopic that illuminates the facts whilst respecting the story it is based upon. The English-language debut of 'Headhunters' director Morten Tyldum, this British World War II thriller is a highly conventional story about humanity that creates a fascinating character, anchored by a hypnotically complex performance.
  • It took a little over 24 hours before I weighed in on my official thoughts on Morten Tyldum's The Imitation Game from The Weinstein Company. My initial reaction upon leaving the screening room was it was astonishing, a magnificent achievement that stands tall as one of the year's best movies. As the film continues to settle within my cinematic soul, this very well could be the best film of the year, anchored by a career best performance from the amazing Benedict Cumberbatch.

    Full disclosure, I'm fairly oblivious to European history and the heroes that had a hand in one of the deadliest wars in history. I've heard the name Alan Turing from high school and college but either didn't care enough to learn or have no recollection of his contributions. Minutes following the screening, got $15.82 from my bank account in order to read "Alan Turing: The Enigma," the book in which screenwriter Graham Moore based the story upon. Telling the story of Alan Turing, a mathematician who in 1939 led a pioneer in cracking one of the most difficult codes in history. His contributions paved the way for essentially the way we exist now. However, Turing, who is a homosexual, has to wrestle with his secret in order to keep his status and his work years later.

    Masterfully told and encompassing an emotional complexity, Tyldum's film is both engrossing and disturbing. It has genius aspirations in which it wants to exist in the cinematic world. It's an impeccable thriller, taut and brilliant, exploring the horrors of war along with the choices that doom mankind for all eternity. Tyldum is methodical and precise in which he decides to unravel the story, Turing is one of the fallen heroes of our history and his story stands as one of the most tragic. Screenwriter Moore crafts a murky, dark, yet totally enjoyable spy film that stands taller than any James Bond film ever released. It's a sure-fire Oscar contender for several Academy Awards including Best Picture. They should feel so lucky to have the gumption to choose something this methodical and majestic.

    Benedict Cumberbatch continues to climb the ladder as one of the best actors working today. After impressive performances August: Osage County, 12 Years a Slave, and TV's "Sherlock," this is the role that will make him a bonafide movie star. Oscar-winner or not, this will be looked upon like the greats such as Gene Hackman in The French Connection or any legendary 70's movie that you love today. Cumberbatch hones in on all of Turing's character flaws and good qualities that make him a real person. He constructs him from the toes up, inflicting mannerisms and behaviors that all ring true. He stimulates all the sensual beats that keep us fixated on a performance. I can't help but go back to someone like Joaquin Phoenix in The Master, who delivered a construction of epic proportions. Though based on a real person, the talented Cumberbatch ignites his own masterpiece performance. He follows the demons of Turing down to his bones. Unsure, arrogant, and dismissive to the world around him, Turing shows only what he must, what he chooses, and every once in a while, we get a front seat to his soul. Thank you Cumberbatch.

    The rest of the cast is completely on their game. It's probably a contender for the SAG Ensemble prize. Academy Award nominee Keira Knightley, as the feisty and fiery Joan Clark, is as loose and comfortable as I've ever seen her. She wears Joan like an old coat from the back of the closet. Remembering it fondly and seeing that it fits just perfect. She has all the things that make up an Oscar nominee; a scene that will likely bring you to tears, plenty of scenes that play as the comic relief in a dark tale, and being simply charming in every part of the film.

    I don't know when it's going to happen but the world needs to make Matthew Goode a mega-star. In his brief time on-screen, Goode makes his mark, becoming essentially a co-anchor with Knightley of the supporting players, showcasing a reason to give this guy his own leading role sooner rather than later. As our resident sleazy authority figure, Charles Dance shows that he's still got it. Mark Strong and Allen Leech also deliver memorable, fascinating scenes, both getting an opportunity to shine.

    Technical merits are no shortage of excellence on display. Oscar- winning Editor William Goldenberg (Argo) shows that tension is his second language. Cutting the film to perfection, and forcing your heart into throat, this espionage thriller succeeds for general audiences because of Goldenberg's efforts. It's something that anyone can seek out and get fully immersed into. Alexandre Desplat tacks another impressive composition to his already thick resume. With films like The Grand Budapest Hotel already in his arsenal, I assume this to be another Oscar citation in his future. Shot by the talented Oscar Faura, responsible for painting the canvas that was J.A. Bayona's The Impossible, he utilizes the standard brilliance of capturing a moment. Knows when to pull back and get close. Let's not forget the Production and Costume Design by Maria Djurkovic and Sammy Sheldon Differ. Those two will surely be mentioned for the rest of the film year.

    The Imitation Game is assertive and makes a serious claim as one of the best spy thrillers ever made. There are sub plots that all resonate and never feel forced. This will not only keep your tension level at a fever pitch but could leave you in tears to walk home with. It's a complete realistic view at the spy game that stands as one of the best films of the year and a performance for the ages from Benedict Cumberbatch. A captivating achievement that I'll likely remember for some time.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Although well crafted and paced by good professionals in almost every sphere of film making, The Imitation Game is sadly reduced to a piece of populist pulp by the dominance of formulaic 'Hollywood' principles that entirely distort the key events and personnel involved.

    Alan Turing did not alone invent the code breaking machine seen in the film. He worked in a team headed by Dilly Knox, not even depicted in the film, who succeeded in breaking the code on 23 January 1940. Gordon Welchman, again not depicted in the film, later headed the military section that developed the 'Bombe' machine (called 'Christopher' in the film) albeit with Turing's help but not under his total dominance as suggested in this fiction.

    Moreover the 'Bombe' was not a computer as the film states. It was a mere calculator rather than a programmable digital machine. The first computer at Bletchly was developed years later under Max Newman when Tommy Flowers designed 'Collossus'. This film intensely distorts these events and is a disgraceful insult to those who actually did the work.

    Worse still the film completely misrepresents Joan Clarke who is depicted as a rather attractive crossword enthusiast recruited by Turing because she can solve puzzles faster than him. This was utter rubbish. Clarke, a 'plain Jane' type mathematician, was already employed at Bletchly when Turing arrived.

    Even Alan Turing himself is misrepresented in character. Eccentric he certainly was but the arrogance shown in the film has no real foundation. Moreover he was not uncomfortable with his sexuality or even the hormonal treatment he received as depicted at the end of the film. His friends report that he laughed about developing breasts that would increase his attractiveness to other men.

    But the film, funded by the powers that are today, cannot even suggest the dreadful possibility that Turing's death was not the suicide so adamantly stated at the end. Turing was devoted to his mother (also never depicted in the film) and the concept of his suicide without leaving her a letter is inconceivable. He had been warned by MI6 only months before his death not to continue his homosexual lifestyle (they were paranoid after the Burgess-Maclean saga) but he continued to visit Greece where he openly took up with gay men. Entirely happy only a few days before we are told that he then took his own life whilst eating an apple. His family and friends maintain the real chance that he was expediently removed by MI6 as a security risk. And poisoning food with cyanide was then a well used technique in security circles for such requirements.

    When a film depicts a Cambridge Professor of Mathematics attacking a machine with a heavy spanner because it is not working fast enough, when a film repeats the single memorable line about unimaginable people doing the unimaginable three times in 30 minutes, when a film states that the central character had the power to decide 'who was to live and who was to die' (again a total nonsense because how the code was used was decided at top Cabinet level and not by the code breakers at all) when such rubbish is presented alongside a string of historical distortions you will know that is essentially rubbish and a waste of time to watch.

    And Benedict Cumberbatch's performance, though competent, was too reminiscent of Derek Jacobi's famous BBC2 portrayal in places to be thought of as original. Timothy Spall as Mr. Turner was not even Oscar nominated for his excellent portrayal but Cumberbatch has been included to expand the Turing myth. Thank God Eddy Redmayne is there to take the prize for his staggering performance as Steven Hawking.
  • paulatyeo15 November 2014
    Alan Turing, Mathematician, Logician, Wartime Codebreaker and father of Computer Science. A great British Hero. A great hero in the fight against prejudice.

    This film tackles themes of prejudice against the feminine, against homosexuality and more generally against anyone who is different. How? By simply pointing out, using the example of Alan Turing and his colossal achievements, that it takes someone different to do something amazing.

    And an amazing story it is, packaged in a beautifully tight screenplay without a wasted scene, that keeps the audience fully engaged throughout. All the cast are on top form, in orbit around a stellar performance by Benedict Cumberbatch that layers humour, complexity, sexuality and the palpable frustration of a brilliant mind not quite able to communicate with his fellow humans.

    A film that depicts a man who perhaps fails the test he invented, that is now named after him. The Turing Test. Can he fool you that he is a real human being and not a super intelligent machine? The stress of playing that Imitation Game is set into every micro twitch of the central character.

    Should you go see it? No special effects. No interstellar spaceships. Why not wait for the download?

    Go see it! Because otherwise you would be missing the chance to see a most remarkable film, performed to perfection. A film about a story that matters, about events that changed history and simply about a man without whom you might not even be able to read this review on your Turing machine.
  • The story of the breaking of the German ciphers during WWII is a significant one, deserving of an accurate telling. The story of Alan Turing, a key member of the team that developed the methods and machines that broke those ciphers is an important one, also deserving of an accurate telling.

    "The Imitation Game" is neither of these films. The story told by this film is watchable, Cumberbatch renders Turing sympathetically and, somewhat to my surprise, Knightley takes the thinly written role of Joan Clarke and turns it into something with a fair bit of heft. However, this film's story takes such liberties with the facts that it really cannot be recommended. This is *not* how the German ciphers were broken and it is not even a reasonable depiction of Turing's life, particularly so when it comes to the atrocious way he was treated after the war.

    You will not find Harold Keen or Gordon Welchman in this film, the writers preferring to insinuate that Turing was wholly responsible for the design and building of the bombe machines (except that Hugh Alexander is credited with the idea for improving their working that was actually Welchman's). However, you will find a Soviet spy in Turing's hut when in fact he did not work there. I could go on and list other inaccuracies.

    If you are unaware of the stories of Enigma and Turing, you may find this a quite interesting film to watch. If you are aware of these stories I think you may find it difficult to swallow the gross misrepresentations of both.

    I consider that filmmakers, when depicting real people or events, have a responsibility to tell the truth and not distort things simply for dramatic effect. When this responsibility is ignored the filmmakers have decided to, in effect, spread lies in the name of entertainment. "The Imitation Game" may be entertaining but it makes this dismal mistake and cannot be recommended.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This is a good enough movie, but skirts around the true story in order to make a clunky point about a genius hounded to death for his homosexuality. The plot is simple. Britain is losing the war and desperately needs something to have a chance of survival. Cracking Nazi codes to stop attacks at sea and in the air might just tip the balance. Step forward the secret decoding establishment at Bletchley Park, where expert mathematicians and linguists are recruited to try and break the famous codes sent via the German Enigma machines. And step forward one Alan Turing of Cambridge University, resident if gay genius played by Benedict Cumberbatch. To break the codes apparently Turing invents a machine to do this. Of course, this is all nonsense -the Poles had built machines previously to do this work and had broken Enigma, but with increasing sophistication they no longer had the resources so handed over their work to the British, along with a captured Enigma machine from the Wehrmacht. So tension mounts as Turing uses tons of money on a new (sic) totally innovative machine which does not seem to be quick enough. On the way an overly attractive Joan Clark (played by Keira Knightley), a double first, helps out and gets engaged to Turing, while silly old Commander Dennison played by Charles Dance tries to close down the machine!!!!! Eventually a chance remark and a realisation of something bleedin' obvious puts Turing and co on the right track. Just time for - we must not use all information or Jerry will know we have broken his codes, so little chat about who is saved and who isn't, which is pretty peripheral, before getting to the climax where Turing is chemically castrated by an unfeeling and totally ungrateful country. The thriller elements are okay, but Turing can do no wrong except tell Clark to leave Bletchley, which gets short feminist shrift! Oh dear, the script cannot help itself from being so terribly 21st century liberal in its preachy parts. A pity some other unsung heroes like Tommy Flowers and the Poles do not get a mention! The acting is fine all round, the direction serviceable, and it works at its own level, but the one man band tub thumping with Cumberbatch twitching and not looking directly at people (obvious Oscar material like 'Rain Man') really does a disservice to the great team effort of the wartime code breakers. Remember, an even more advanced, valve-based machine for breaking codes was developed with little participation from Turing by a working class GPO man - Tommy Flowers, who used his own money to finance it. Hope his story is not overlooked just because he was straightforwardly normal!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    While it is a moderately decent film on a noble subject matter, I never felt thrilled, moved or otherwise captivated in a way that deserves over the top praise from other reviewers in my humble opinion.

    I felt that many opportunities to create dramatic tension and stunning photography were thrown away as a result of the insertion of ill-fitting material (black and white footage of Hitler? really?) and poor script and acting (Keira is bland as vanilla I am afraid to say).

    It wasn't all bad. Translating the challenge of cryptanalysis into film is a challenge which I think was valiantly attempted, though excessively dumbed down.

    A number of sub-plots are introduced in different time frames, one in Turing's childhood and one after the war. Sadly they fail to deliver any meaningful drama, again as a result of mediocre writing. If anything they are distracting and defuse any tension that might have built up in the scenes that precede them. As such, the editing did feel amateurish. The ending was extremely disappointing: why use lines of text to depict that which can be shown instead?

    Finally there is a rather out of place scene with a barely disguised and hypocritical feminist agenda. I say that because that particular scene was fictional and never happened in reality, so its existence can only be justified by such an agenda. I refer to the moment Keira Knightly attempts to sit an exam to join Turing's code breakers' team. An incredulous usher, convinced she is present for a job interview as a secretary instead (because the evil patriarchy couldn't possibly contemplate she is as capable as men - see how subtle that was? wow) refuses her entry until our hero Turing intervenes and allows her in.

    We are also told this female character has a double first in mathematics from Cambridge. If wartime Britain was so sexist, why does she hold such a distinguished degree? And if sexism is so evil, then why fall does the script fall in the trap of using her as an emotional element in the story but glosses over the contribution her brilliant mind made to Turing's efforts? Now THAT my friends, is sexist and the film could have done without this ridiculous and off-topic political manifesto. It was the final nail in the coffin as far as I was concerned.

    I shall not watch this again, however I do fancy reading a biography of Alan Turing, maybe something the film can take credit for.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This film, while entertaining, aims mainly to be a purely twenty-first century anti-bullying parable, regardless of the historical truth about Alan Turing. While I have been more firmly opposed than most to boarding school bullying, in this case, the nobler the goal, the worse the writing. The film tries unsuccessfully to make Turing both a friendless quasi-autistic lone genius, and the head of the entire decryption project; neither point has any relation to reality, and barely cohere to each other. (I admit to some bitterness about this slur on my grand- supervisor, since it implicitly denies the existence of my graduate-school supervisor.)

    The film also does disservice to Joan Clarke's genuine contributions, substituting a muddled and completely ahistorical subplot about her professional dependence on, and mathematical superiority to, Turing, while seeming more concerned with her appearance than her intellect.
  • I really enjoyed watching the movie, however left the cinema disappointed! Fantastic story, great Alan Turing - pioneer of computer science. BUT - German military texts enciphered on the Enigma machine were first broken by the Polish Cipher Bureau, beginning in December 1932. This success was a result of efforts by three Polish cryptologists, Marian Rejewski, Jerzy Różycki and Henryk Zygalski, working for Polish military intelligence. Alan devised a number of techniques for breaking German ciphers, including improvements to the pre-war Polish bombe method. Shame Polish Intelligence was omitted in the movie.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I am astonished at the rave reviews this film is getting and depressed at how many people will now go through life with their impression of Alan Turing and code breaking at Bletchley "informed" by this film. The plot is drivel. If you take this film at face value you will leave believing that Turing was single-handedly responsible for just about everything at Bletchley including the original idea for the Bombe machine not to mention constructing it on his own in a barn, recruitment of staff, the first breaking of any Enigma traffic, the idea of using known words to crack messages, making strategic decisions about whether or not to save trans-Atlantic convoys and countless other things. Most of the film is just nonsense. There is no way that Turing would have been in a position to decide not to save the convoy (or even know that there was one to save). He wasn't responsible for the idea of using standard text in messages as ways into the Enigma settings (which had been done since before the war). The construction of the Bombe machines was a huge exercise involving a team of technicians and parts supplied by external manufacturers, not Turing wiring it up alone in a barn in his shirt-sleeves. It wasn't actually even his idea; the idea of using a machine was brought to him by Dilly Knox from pre-war ideas worked up by a Polish team. Nor could the machine spit out deciphered messages after a couple of minutes. Turing wasn't in charge either, he didn't come up with ideas of using crosswords to find recruits and he wasn't alone in writing to Churchill; several of them signed the letter. Oh yes, and there were several women code-breakers at Bletchley. The screenplay is also riddled with anachronisms, which just add to the sense of "Oh this is ridiculous" throughout the film. No way would a well brought up young lady in the 1940s say "Oh my God!" three times in as many minutes. There are too many others to recall or mention. Benedict Cumberbatch and the rest of the cast are excellent in their roles with the material they are given (hence two stars rather than one) but that cannot save what is ultimately a very disappointing film. This is not a biopic of Turing, which is how it is presented, but a nonsensical made up story tacked on to a heavy-handed political point about homosexuality, which we all got without the banner at the end. Two hours I won't get back.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    It's an unfortunate truism nowadays that any major film production in the UK must at least try to secure US funding, and failing that, aim in part at US audiences to have a hope of recouping production costs. The Imitation Game is a prime example of this phenomenon. The fact that this mess garnered an Oscar is testament to where the movie was aimed at, and apparently hit its target.

    The British film industry and production talent is capable of creating exquisite productions and with great casting. UK hosts some of the best acting talent in the world. Combined with a usable screenplay, it can make compelling cinema. The screenplay for this effort uses the mechanism of three story lines of the principle character separated by time (schooldays, Bletchley days and final police investigation of homosexual activity). This could have been fine, except for the screenwriter's desire to overly write in melodrama where there was none, additional fictional characters as plot devices, etc.. the acting is good, Cumberbach does a good job of effecting Turing as he's been described in the past to me.


    The result is a movie that I had trouble watching. Not recommended, and I'm hoping for better stuff coming out of the UK.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    When I read the Executive Producers were the Weinstein Brothers, I immediately knew the movie will take its creative license beyond reason. I wasn't disappointed at that. "Based on true events" doesn't mean anything as probably most have learned by now. Key events in the story line are almost entirely made up. True key events have been completely ignored, and the usual Hollywood political agenda's are on full display. I didn't ask for any personal political insights, I didn't want pay for that.

    This movie aims directly at promoting homosexuality through emotions. First we are directed to love Turing because of his accomplishment, then we are directed to feel sad for him because he pays a price for being what he is. At the end multiple tear jerking scenes were built in to help you towards that emotional state.

    The clunky behavior of the genius has been depicted the way it is always depicted: somewhat stuttering, looking at the floor, no sense of humor, not understanding metaphors. All in all, stereotyping and cliché galore right here in the very first five minutes he was introduced.

    Turing finds the code by sheer coincidence more or less we are led to believe. The reality is that just about every story about accidental discoveries have been debunked. Newton's apple, Archimedes bathtub, all are stories which turned out not to be true. These grand discoveries, just like cracking the Enigma Code, have been discovered by hard work and professionalism.

    Poland discovered the logic behind the Enigma years before the British did. The Germans increased the number of combinations, which made the code more intensive to break. The Polaks ran out of funds to create a better decoding machine and handed over the know-how to Great Britain and France. Turing (and certainly not him alone) improved the machine the Polaks built and which they called "Bombe". Not a word about that in the movie off course. Just like in the movie "Black Hawk Down", where the crucial role of the Malayan (!) snipers to bail out the Americans has been completely ignored.

    Also, Turing was never investigated for being a possible spy, nor did he kept knowledge of a spy to himself. He would have played with his life if he did that. He was under investigation for being a gay tho. The scene was also used to connect Turing with MI6 even more, but that was unnecessary; as it turned out in the end, Turing was more than happy to work with MI6 for his own schemes (which is a lie too).

    The audience will learn nothing about the code itself. Not a clue on how it works (it's not even that hard!), nothing.

    Code breakers are hired if they could solve crossword or cryptographic puzzles. Needless to say that the smartest person is tardy but gets to participate in the test anyway (cliché cliché), and turns out to be even faster than the great Turing himself! An oh, it's a woman! A completely made up event. Feminism at work in its fullest glory. Acknowledging her intelligence (she really was) is not enough it seems. She had to be the smarter than all men, including Turing. She already worked at Bletchley in reality. And she slapped Turing! Beating men is a sure sign of female strength in the doctrine of many feminists. That too never happened. In reality Joan Clarke was very submissive.

    Turing supposedly had a say in how to use this machine strategically. He contacted MI6 to scheme with, ignoring his employer. The reality is vice versa: MI6 instructed Turing what to do. Turing had no say. A feeble attempt to make Turing even better than he already was, but the attempt was over the top. I can't imagine the viewer didn't notice.

    So there it is people. This movie represents blatant promotion of multiple Hollywood agenda's, over-dramatization, over-simplification and factual incorrectness about all key events. This movie represents all that to its fullest.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    First off, the historical revisionism is testament to the pure and brazen ignorance of the production crew and lack of an historical adviser when this went into production, with the almost terrifyingly obtuse view to making a film that follows the cheap tried and tested Hollywood formula that we've all witnessed a hundred times already.

    From the paper boy waving a paper saying bombs were about to be dropped in '1939', to god only knows how many facets of fantasy created out of a well documented Turing's life, and I can't remember accurately right now but I think they even mentioned Churchill as being Prime Minister in 1939 which is untrue, this film was an exercise in inaccuracies.

    These inaccuracies I was quite prepared to forgive until I started witnessing the exact same structure of film as I would be expected to see in a comic book film. We introduce an antagonist who causes great conflict, we already know our protagonist who is a victimised target of bullies and the entire world is out to shoot him down but he must overcome great odds to beat a much more powerful enemy. We even witness the classic buddy moment where our heroes at their lowest ebb have a motivational coming together of understanding and mutual respect where their bond of friendship gives them renewed vigour and hope, and not least of all, the power to overcome their great enemy, 'The Commander'. Not to mention of course that this film even managed to chuck a twist into the mix as well. Sure, it wouldn't be a Hollywood style film without a twist now would it?

    Add a couple of scenes that are so fake it'll make your head spin and you've got your film, e.g. 'his brother just happens to be on that exact boat!!??' Good grief, give me a break.

    This sickened me to the core of my being. Can film makers really not appreciate that people have more intelligence than that of a wombat. I'm starting to feel like a zombie whose soul reason in life is to watch the same generic film again and again and again with the odd good film thrown in like a needle in a hundred haystacks. Originality isn't even worth speculating about anymore, it's a myth that died a death with cuchulainn.

    It was such a bad ploy to create this absolute ass of a character and then have us empathise with him because the world is against him. It doesn't even try to speculate that he might bring it on himself. 'Just get the damn audience to EMPATHISE' said the director, I presume. There isn't much in the way of character here, he's an ass, played very well by Cumberbatch who can do no wrong at the moment it seems, but very one dimensional a character nonetheless, Oh yes, they try to get him to change and get along with everyone which he does, but just so we could have our great comic book buddy scene where the evil 'Commander' is put in his place until the next episode of Turing and Friends when the Commander tries to destroy the world with his next fiendish plot.

    And what was with all the gay apologies at the end? I thought this film was about Enigma. I use the phrase 'about Enigma' quite quite loosely here since this film had very little resemblance to reality. But almost all the blurbs were about him being gay, and other gays and how they were mistreated. I'm sorry, was this film not about Enigma? Clearly not, they must have been afraid that people wouldn't want to see a film about a gay man? Looks that way.

    So yea, I was disappointed with this, just didn't care about the main character, too much empathy mining was going on here. Not to mention the ridiculously simplistic way in which they supposedly cracked the code. But like I've said, dumbed down cinema for easy digestion.
  • There is something appropriately mechanical about The Imitation Game. It has a theatrical rhythm and attention to detail that ticks like a clock. That's not to say that it's necessarily overly dry and hard to connect to, this biopic of the extraordinary and tragic mathematician and inventor of the digital computer, Alan Turing, played by Benedict Cumberbatch, is emotionally engaging and utterly endearing. With a slick exquisite script and an eclectic ensemble strong enough to deliver, it's an accessible film that although may feel familiar, is thoroughly refreshing, bringing laughter, tears and thrills. It will undeniably be a huge contender at the big awards this season, perhaps going all the way.

    Director Morten Tyldum's film follows Turing's journey to break the Enigma Code, the form in which the Germans communicated during WWII to conduct surprise attacks. He attempts it by building the first computer, a passion project of his that was frequently criticized for devoting so much Government time and money. He deals with a social ineptitude while also accepting his own homosexuality, which lead to unforgivable persecution and depression that caused Turing to take his own life. The film focuses on his life achievements rather than his demise, though it does explore that part of his life, if not illustrate it as much as it could have done.

    It's easy to root for Turing, even if his arrogance and standoffishness repel the other characters. Benedict Cumberbatch is a real crowd pleaser here. I've only seen him in short supporting roles such as last year's August: Osage County and 12 Years A Slave and I'm certainly quite impressed, if not quite as astounded. There's a very rehearsed quality about his performance, similar to Anne Hathaway's Oscar winning turn in Les Miserables. Every stutter and nuance feels perfectly placed rather than organic. But this isn't necessarily a turn off, it fits the tone of the film. He could go all the way to the Oscar but it depends on buzz and the competition.

    The highlight of the film is the writing by Graham Moore, adapted from Andrew Hodges novel 'Alan Turing: The Enigma.' It's not groundbreaking, but it has the right ingredients and the perfect recipe. Even if somehow it's the only film's nomination, it's still a frontrunner for the win in Adapted Screenplay. This will be a film known for 'ticking boxes,' but it does it in a way that all films should. It's economical without ever feeling like it's rushing or only scratching the surface. It constantly pummels the characters with adversity, presenting heart-wrenching moral dilemmas, particularly for Keira Knightley's Joan Clarke. It turns something complicated and bleak quite lighthearted, especially with the casual approach to war outside of moments of justified despair.

    Knightley will certainly get awards attention for her fine supporting role as Turing's counterpart. Her role may not be as meaty, lacking the highs and lows Cumberbatch has, but she makes the most of her relative sparing use, becoming the heart of the film. Thanks to her, their relationship is completely believable, given that Turing is a man who struggles with connecting to people, and the way she manages the choices her character is set upon is dealt with deft conviction. Charles Dance, Mark Strong and especially Matthew Goode are commanding side presences who bolster the film's charm. The titular 'imitation game' is essentially the Replicant test from Blade Runner, something Turing has practiced on himself. However, all the characters are human here, if with a confidence you only find in the movies.

    Instead of a linear structure, the film chooses flashbacks to flesh out the full story of Turing. It does seem a little extraneous to go back to school with him, but fortunately the focus of their objectives and the performances of the young actors make them worthwhile, as well as showing the origin of something that changed the world as we know it. The scale is further expanded with newsreel footage and scenes of the world at war, even if the special effects are relatively primitive compared to what can be achieved these days though that doesn't hold the film back as such. It's very easy to get suckered into films that convince you that you're watching one man change the world and The Imitation Game achieves that effortlessly.

    Although it's dense in character and plot, The Imitation Game flashes more on the surface than it has to offer beneath. Kinetic energy in the editing brings an instant gratification, especially in the edge of your seat sequences. There are liberties with the tone for such a somber event and protagonist that most likely doesn't reflect the honest emotions involved, but obviously it's easier to digest for audience. I was unsure at first, but then it had me under its spell. This also may be Alexandre Desplat's best bet at finally winning an Oscar. It adds to that whimsical cinematic tone, almost reminiscent on his work on Harry Potter sans the magic. It will certainly be warmly embraced in the mainstream. The film is poignant, but not powerful. Entertaining, but not enlightening.

    I'm content calling this the Best Picture frontrunner until further notice. The film feels like a combination of Argo, with the secrets and the camaraderie of the unit, and The King's Speech, with its Britishness and charming partnerships. It depends whether the Academy fall for the ambition of Christopher Nolan's Interstellar or the Chariots of Fire + The Bridge on the River Kwai formula of Angelina Jolie's Unbroken. Either way, The Imitation Game will belong amongst the most deserving winners, but the test of time remains to be seen. It's not like it'll be alone in that group. Nevertheless, with Queen Elizabeth II's pardon for Turing last year, there's never been a better time to educate the masses on his legacy that we use everyday.


    edit: guess it isn't. Oh well. Boyhood and Birdman are better anyway.
  • I went to see this movie at a screening. I have to admit, I went into this movie not knowing anything about Alan Turing and Enigma, but I love movies based on true events; especially those about the history of our country.

    Despite not knowing anything about Mr. Turing or the events of his life, as soon as I left the movie theater, I went home and looked him up and spent the next few hours learning of his life, everything he did for this country and the invention of what we now call 'the computer'.

    I want to start by saying that Benedict Cumberbatch in this movie is outstanding. He plays Alan Turing perfectly; his accent, his movements and just the way he plays the character on screen is beautiful. I can honestly say that this is the performance of his career!

    The movie focuses on different aspects of his life: it shows him and his team trying to break Enigma, it shows Young Turing during his time at boarding school, and the events after the war.

    There's a quote at the beginning of the movie: "are you paying attention?". Throughout the movie, that's what I did. It's all that I could do because the story and the acting kept my eyes glued to the screen and I couldn't take them away. It's emotional, it's exciting and it is truly heartbreaking in some moments. It was a very comedic movie, too. There were some scenes that had me in fits of laughter and that's what makes it a beautiful script; despite the movie being based on the darkest days of World War 2, they added comedy into it which brought the movie alive.

    I remember getting home and after researching Alan's life, I wanted to go back to the cinema and watch the movie again. It's rarely that happens to me but when this comes out in November, I will be straight to the cinema and purchasing a ticket to watch it.

    I've heard reviewers mentioning that this film doesn't focus enough on Turing's homosexuality. Now, be that as it may, it focus' enough on the subject. Remember: this movie is about his mind, about the man himself. He was a genius!

    This is the best British movie that I've saw in a long time, and it's probably one of the best movies that I've ever had the pleasure of watching, period.

    I would recommend going to watch this movie when it comes out because it will take you into the world of Mr. Turing and the struggles and successes he made in his short life.
  • A movie which oozes Britishness from every frame, The Imitation Game is an instant classic. Wartime Britain is depicted vividly, if a little caricatured, with an autumnal palette and a jaunty air.

    A true story, sympathetically told, with good performances all round and a stand-out Turing from the indefatigable Mr Cumberbatch. The young Turing is also extremely well realised by Alex Lawther.

    Meandering through Alan Turing's life since school until shortly before his death, the script demands your attention and regularly makes you smile.

    Highly recommended.
  • dsign-info10 January 2015
    It is a shame this movie is a stack of lies.First time polish broke enigma it was in 1932, 1933 they created first working example of Enigma, and first anti-enigma device, narrowing settings combination to 105 456. In 1936 Germans changed the design, and Polish answered with Rejewsky bomb, machine with 6 enigma connected together,breaking new daily code in 2 hours.Another German changes required building 54 different machine designs, and Poland didn't have enough money so they asked allies to help.July 1939 Uk and French representatives visited Warsaw and got all documentation how to break ENIGMA.After beginning of the war, polish encoders moved to Paris, and British started Bletchley Park operation. Unfortunately, Polish people are always forgotten, because they are not part of US/UK/France/Germany nation.Shame on you Britain.
  • There is a strong urge for me to create this spoiler-free review. Let me preface this. I'm a theoretical computer scientist, so somebody who does work in a very related area that was founded by Turing's work (use it almost daily). For a film that boasts that it is "based on a true story", it is a travesty to portray such a well- documented persons' life and the events related to this movie so inaccurately. The liberties taken by the film are so dishonest that nobody should use this as a factual story. Turing wasn't so simple to lay out, his papers are a testament to this.

    If you want to get to know the actual story, get the actual biography the film is based off of, or even better (like I do), read his actual papers. I own most of them myself in collections from the 40's-50's.

    Go into this film to enjoy the acting, DO NOT use this as a real- true story tale. It has been demonstrated to be very inaccurate from the history of the Enigma to overshadowing Turing's most important contributions with emotional pleas that Turing held more as self-convictions than anything. He was a brilliant scientist, but this film just was so annoying as the inaccuracies got in the way.

    To make this blunt: This is the Patch Adams to films about mathematics and war. Totally inaccurate.

    I give it 1/10 because the acting is great, for what they're attempting to do. Truth-telling makes or breaks it for me, a computer scientist. If you're a young computer scientist or interested in this subject, get a more reliable source. Not this film.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    How this film ever managed to get Oscar nominated for the best adapted screenplay is beyond me. The old press adage "never let the facts get in the way of a good story" doesn't even apply here as the story, as told in the film, is the most complete and utter tosh from start to finish.

    Anyone with even the most cursory knowledge of what went on at Bletchley Park and Turing's part in it should be infuriated with the raft of inaccuracies presented as fact here and the frankly ludicrous supposition that Turing would have told anything at all about his work there to a rookie detective.

    Special mention should go to the scenery-chewing performance of Charles Dance as Alastair Denniston, leading his band of Military Police thugs to destroy the Bombe (hand-built by Turing on his own at Bletchley and lovingly named 'Christoper' by him, according to this film, but in reality built in Letchworth by a large team which included Gordon Welchman, Oliver Lawn and chief engineer Harold Keen and actually called Victory.) Denniston was undoubtedly somewhat antagonistic towards his motley team of code-breakers, but this portrayal - no offence to Mr. Dance - is so over the top as to be laughable. Yes, the acting is good, given the drivel that is the script, but I finished the film furious at the injustice done both to the people shown and to those shamefully airbrushed out.

    As others have said, there are amazing stories to be told, both about Bletchley Park and about the life of Alan Turing and there are many excellent books, including Sinclair McKay's 'The Secret Life Of Bletchely Park', which tell a much more accurate and, in my view, engrossing tale than this appalling travesty. Do yourself a favour and read them rather than watching this steaming pile of ordure.

    What finally persuaded me to write this review was overhearing a conversation in a diner in Brooklyn where someone who had just seen the film was describing it to his dining partner with these words "And this guy, this Turing, single-handedly saved the lives of millions of people despite being persecuted and blackmailed for being a fag." Way to go, film-makers.
  • So I just saw this film tonight, and I quite enjoyed it. It was interesting and engaging and entertaining and everything you'd want from a movie. I went home quite satisfied, and indeed had my interest in Alan Turing, the main character, piqued. So, when I got home, I did a little online research.

    Now, I know that this was a movie, and not a documentary, so I expected that there would be some liberties taken with the story, but hoped they would not be anything too significant. Well, here's what I discovered:

    It's ALL bull$hit.

    All of it! The events, the characterization of Turing, all of it. It's only true in the absolute broadest outlines of the story. I invite-- no, urge-- each and every one of you to pull up the Wikipedia article on this movie and read the section "Accuracy". Then come back and tell me this was a good movie.

    My initial liking of this movie has turned to bitter hatred.
  • A tragic true story told as generic, mundane and formulaic as possible. Alan Turing is known as a hero to some, yet here he is portrayed like a robot wearing a Benedict Cumberbatch costume that can shed tears when the screenplay allows for it. A screenplay that follows an out-dated guide on how to make an Academy Award winning film.

    For such an amazing story filled with inspiration and sadness, the filmmakers didn't bother to make any other aspect of the film daring, inventive or even slightly original. Almost every part of this production could have passed as a movie-of-the-week on some major television network. Even the soundtrack is bland, it's as black and white as the over-used stock war footage.

    A film portraying a story like this, especially it being a true story, should rip the heart out of it's audience, having them leaving the theater disgusted, heart-broken and angry. Instead, what we get here, is a film that rushes through everything, while watering it down, all to fit a family-friendly rating and a run-time of no longer than 2 hours. This leaves the film absolutely ineffective and it's audience indifferent. And that's the worse possible out-come of a film telling such an important, meaningful and provocative true story.
  • This film is supposedly based on the life of Alan Turing (adapted from a biography of his life). A pioneer in computer science, mathematician and cryptologist. During the war he as part of a team was involved in breaking the code, the Enigma Code that is.

    The character of Alan Turing tends to pop up in other novels and films usually in the periphery such as the Robert Harris fictional novel Enigma.

    The real Alan Turing's story had a tragic ending as he was arrested for homosexuality in the 1950s when it was illegal and committed suicide. Over the years pressure have been on to rehabilitate Turing's name. There is a road in Manchester named after him, his work in the field of computers and code-breaking in World War 2 eventually led to a posthumous pardon.

    The Imitation Game cast Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing and right from the early scenes we see our modern day Sherlock playing a genius like he was another Sherlock Holmes. Clever, insufferable, a loner, arrogant.

    I thought I would let that slide but the the script which has won the best adapted screenplay Oscar was I am afraid a ham-fisted clunker. It was determined to make the story uninteresting, dull and blah blah blah predictable. It is also probably far away from the actual true story. Just when you thought it was getting better it goes back to its default bad mode.

    For example when they do crack the code, the team start fighting and arguing and then one of them has a brother who just happens to be on a ship in the Atlantic which might get attacked.

    Then there is the communist double agent, but hold on there was a double agent in the fictional novel Enigma. It looks like that was added for dramatic effect.

    Then there is the ludicrous scene where the Commander and his cronies forcibly start to attack the code breaking machine having no idea what it does and wants to go back to manual code breaking when we have been already told that would take millions of years to succeed. It might had helped if it was explained to the audience how the machine worked.

    The real Turing also had a stutter which in this film is portrayed as being very mild. I much prefer Derek Jacobi's interpretation of Turing in the play and film, Breaking the Code where the stutter was more pronounced.

    The film is just clichéd rubbish and I was genuinely disappointed as to how poor it was and that it got nominated for a Best Picture Oscar which is very much undeserved.
  • It is Turing for Dummies. I am reminded of the Al Jolson story where they neglected to mention two of his four wives in his bio pic. The Poles made a huge initial contribution to tackling the Enigma problem. This film not only largely ignores that, but creates the impression Enigma was all that happened and Turing was running the whole show. The reality is a complex, compelling and far more thrilling story involving a collection of very clever people. There is no mention of Tommy Flowers. Tommy who? And what of the Lorenz traffic? What of Max Newman and John Tiltman. His team reverse engineered Lorenz without ever seeing one. It was an astounding intellectual exercise. Turing was a genius, one of many at Bletchley. I think he deserves better than this twaddle by numbers. I am surprised they didn't include a montage and a group of Bletchley staff walking in slow motion in front of a series of exploding Enigma machines. It is puerile lazy dross.
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