Benedict Cumberbatch’s performance as the solitary, mathematical genius Alan Turing is stratospheric; his every nuance, prophetic stuttering, gleaning gesture resonate with profound empathy for a man whose intellect changed the world, saved countless lives, accomplished the “unimaginable”.
Based on Turing’s book “The Enigma” the film faithfully follows his scrupulous mission at Britain’s Bletchley Park (members of MI6 and Government Code and Cypher School) with fellow brainiacs “Hugh Alexander” (caddishly charming Matthew Goode) and “Joan Clark” (Keira Knightly glows with intelligence and nobility) plus a myriad of other wise men; secrecy surrounds their formidable task of cracking “Enigma”, Germany’s destructive, annihilating radio code during WWII. Appointed by Winston Churchill to head the mission Turing painstakingly constructs “Christopher” a monolithic machine,(forerunner of today’s computer) destined to decipher the impenetrable German “enigma”. “The Imitation Game” without sensationalism blatantly displays the colossal tension of government enforced deadlines; heated differences between the team whose enormous egos and I.Q’s threaten the success of the project.
The penetrating, brilliant core of the film is the portrait of a man whose genius was the source of inimitable pain; isolated, peerless, Turing’s sole intellectual equal, only friend (Christopher) dies in secondary school; Turning sours, becomes an irascible, misanthropic adult; numbers, puzzles, answers; flexibility, anathema; his loneliness is heart- wrenching, staggeringly sad. Benedict Cumberbatch captures the man, his torturous, illegal proclivities in the mid-twentieth century; he brought to life a master of mathematics, pioneering computer scientist, philosopher; unparalleled, a man worthy of awe, not derision; a man to be heralded in perpetuity.