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The Imitation Game

"A handsome and stirring film of Second World War ingenuity that also succeeds as cracking good entertainment." (Peter Howell, Toronto Star)

The Imitation Game is Norwegian director Morten Tyldum’s outstanding, beautifully nuanced, first English-language film.

For many years, the story presented here was genuinely a state secret:  the long-hidden true tale of intrigue surrounding the Allies’ — specifically Britain’s — quiet campaign to break the Nazis’ “Enigma” code. Today, we know it was that successful code-breaking effort, and the troop movements it unearthed, that played an enormous role in the defeat of Germany in World War II.

Central to all of this was the part played by one brilliant, complicated and extremely difficult man: Alan Turing. Lacking in social skills, Turing was tapped to lead an eclectic group of fellow “brains” to break the code — and in the process developed a machine that, in many ways, was a forerunner of what we today call computers.

Just as Turing toiled ceaselessly to build his machine to break Enigma, so too has Tyldum crafted a phenomenal film — with all the pieces of a complicated puzzle put together in such a way that the story flows seamlessly.

We’re really looking at three significant periods in Turing’s life: some tense moments between Turing and a police officer in 1951; his lonely childhood in a upper-class British boarding school in the 1930s, and then the crux of the movie — the war years.

Graham Moore’s Oscar-winning screenplay (for his first produced film) and Tyldum’s even-handed direction tie it all together in an easily understandable, concise package that lays the groundwork for incredible performances.

While entertaining us and touching our hearts with the singular and ultimately tragic story of Alan Turing, the film honors the importance of scientific research and mathematical study.

Yet, along with Tyldum’s great pacing that turns this brainiac exercise into a real wartime thriller, the beautiful cinematography of Oscar Faura and Alexandre Desplat’s haunting score, this film’s overall success hangs on Cumberbatch and what is, to date, his finest performance on the big screen.

- Bill Zwecker, Chicago Sun-Times

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