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The Imitation Game - Spoiler-free review

Posted by Nathan Strum, 09 January 2015 · 1,248 views

Okay… here's the actual review for The Imitation Game. :)
The Imitation Game is based on a book about the life of Alan Turing - one of the founders of computer science, and creator of the Turing Test (and if you don't know what that is, you need to turn in your nerd card). Given the somewhat obscure subject matter of the film, and the low-key advertising campaign, I was surprised to show up to a theater with a long line waiting to see it, and a packed house.
The movie flips between three time periods - his youth at boarding school, his work during World War II, and a couple of years prior to his death. The film does a pretty good job of tying the three of them together thematically without getting confusing when jumping back and forth. The bulk of the movie takes place during the war, covering his work towards building a machine to break the codes of Germany's Enigma machine.
Not being overly familiar with his biography, it's hard to say how much of the film is historically accurate, and how much has been altered to make it more entertaining to audiences. Certainly a great deal of history and details were glossed over, both for time constraints and more streamlined storytelling. However, it was a very well-acted film across the board, and the war-era parts of the story were particularly compelling. I was disappointed, however, that they never really got into the theories behind how his machine worked. One moment he's scribbling designs on sheets of paper, and a few scenes later, they're building the thing. And while I understand that most general audiences aren't going to be interested in technical details, the man's work was about those very details. So I guess I'll have to track down one of the other movies about him.
At times the movie gets a bit heavy-handed and makes it seem like Turing single-handedly won the war. But the film isn't meant to be a critical appraisal of his life or work. Rather it tells Turing's story in a sympathetic light, tries to right some wrongs, and give him the kind of public acknowledgment that he never had.
The Imitation Game is a solid, often compelling bio-pic, that sheds a little light not only on a critical time in our history, but also on the life of someone who never really got the sort of accolades he deserved. Not a perfect film, and certainly biased, but still a very good movie.
The Imitation Game gets an 8/10 (which shouldn't come as any surprise, if you read yesterday's post ;) ).
(And in case you were wondering - yes… there is a 2600 version of the Enigma machine.)

I was hoping for an Artie Charlie comic.

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I need to see this, thanks for the spoiler-free review!
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I hadn't even considered creating a cartoon about the Charlie Hebdo killings. It's a bit beyond me to come up with something that I would think would be appropriate. I'll leave that to other, better cartoonists.


For some reason, I was thinking Charlie Brown, since I've mentioned Peanuts in my blog before. Couldn't figure out what that had to do with The Imitation Game. :roll:

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I haven't seen this yet, but I am looking forward to it. There is a documentary on Alan Turing I saw earlier on Canadian Netflix called "Codebreaker", and it was quite good. I recommend it. He was really a genius ahead of everyone's time. Very sad what he went through, but it was really a different era.



You can take a look and see if it is on American Netflix.

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Yep - just added Codebreaker to my watch list.
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Watched Codebreaker last night on Netflix (which was more of a documentary with dramatic re-enactments, than it was a biopic). Completely different portrayal of Turing. The history was effectively the same, but his personality was totally different - more aggressive and manipulative. He's much more of a sympathetic character in The Imitation Game.

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