Monday, December 29, 2014

The Imitation Game Review

"Starring Benedict Cumberbatch" is all you need to tell me to get me excited for a movie. Ever since I watched Sherlock, the man has been one of my favorite current actors. Not only is he the perfect Sherlock Holmes in my opinion, but every movie I've seen him in he has done a great job. Even if the movie itself isn't that great, it's pretty much a guarantee that Benedict will do his best. Now if you take this to the next level and say that Benedict Cumberbatch is almost guaranteed to earn an Oscar nomination because of a certain role, that's a movie that I really want to see. And of course that's never actually happened until now because Benedict has not yet received on Oscar nomination. This will be his first. Yes, The Imitation Game has been a movie that I have been wanting to see for quite some time because it has received quite a bit of praise ever since it's film festival debut. After months of waiting, which included several weeks of it playing the limited release game, it finally showed up in theaters on Christmas and that was a very nice Christmas present for me. Like always, Benedict did an amazing job. Unfortunately, this was one of those movies that didn't quite captivate me. It was good. I won't deny that. But it didn't live up to all the hype.

If you haven't yet heard of it, The Imitation Game is a movie about the life of Alan Turing, which to be honest was someone who I had never heard of before this movie started to be advertised. I don't know if I just missed the boat when it came to this guy or if he is someone who is actually lesser known, but I was really glad that this movie brought him to my attention. Alan Turing was a brilliant mathematician who lived in the early to mid 1900's. The biggest thing he accomplished, or one of the biggest anyways, was working to break the Enigma code during World War II. What does that mean? Hmmm... I was hoping you wouldn't ask me that. But that's what this movie was about. Basically the Nazi's were using some sort of secret code to hide their plans and Alan Turing was part of the group trying to decipher the code in order to help win the war. That's the basic skeleton anyways. If you want to know in better detail, google Enigma.

This is one of those instances where I was made aware of a part of history that I didn't know about. I like it when movies do that. However, Hollywood isn't the place to learn about history, so me being curious, I went to do a bit of research on the actual Alan Turing and what he did. I actually enjoyed the experience of learning about this man. Turns out this movie Hollywoodized his life quite a bit. But that didn't bother me that much. You can still make a good movie even if you don't have all the facts perfectly in order. Especially when there's themes in the movie you are trying to get across and of course that's the case here. I don't want to get into too much depth about everything that went on in the movie because I went into the movie having not really known much at all about it and I liked the experience of having a lot of the twists and turns be a surprise. So I'll let you experience those on your own. Needless to say, Alan Turing went through quite the ordeal in the movie and it brings up quite a few touchy subjects. If you've seen the movie, you'll know what the main theme is in the movie, and although I'm not going to say what it is, I will say the movie did a really good job of representing what it was like for that certain group back in the 1940's and that's sure to resonate very strongly with current members of that group.

Yes, that's a bit vague, I know. But I want you to experience this movie for yourself without me telling you much about it. Personally I had my expectations for the movie really high. With all the hype, I was hoping that this would be one of the best movies of the year. It's a good movie. But one of the best would not be how I would describe it. It's tense at times, but not really intense. It has some good emotion, but it didn't captivate me and move me like I was expecting it to. It's good. It's not great. I hope that makes sense. But despite the movie itself, Benedict Cumberbatch is great. He gives this movie 110 percent and he is just perfect. Based on his previous performances, I almost expect nothing less. Maybe that's harsh. But I'm continually impressed at how he always delivers. It's like if you were the coach of a basketball team and you expected your star player to go out and get you 30 points every single night without fail. That's a bit harsh. But it would be impressive if that player not only went out and got you 30 points every night, but he actually got you 40 each night without fail. That's how I feel about Benedict Cumberbatch. Loved this performance. So yes, I hope he does get nominated for the Oscar. But speaking of acting, I've done all this talking about Benedict Cumberbatch, but there is another individual who needs recognition. That's Keira Knightley. Someone once told me that she can't act to save her life. I don't know who that person is, but they are wrong. This girl can act. Twice this year I have seen her give it her all and do an amazing job. The first was Begin Again. The second is this. She's going to get an Oscar nomination and that is also very deserved.

So in the end, I went into The Imitation Game with very high expectations. Turns out my expectations were a bit too high because this isn't an amazing, mind-blowing movie. But it is a good one. It taught me about a man that I didn't know much about that concurrently taught me about an important aspect of World War II that I also had no knowledge of. And that was cool. But I didn't walk away from the movie thinking that I had just experienced one of the best movies of the year. This is good, not great. But despite that, the acting in this movie is the best part of the movie by a long shot. Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley both go out and give it their all. I like both of them and I think both of them are very deserving of the Oscar nomination that they are about to get. And I wouldn't be too upset if they won. I would be upset if the movie itself won best picture because it doesn't deserve that over movies like Birdman or Boyhood. My grade for The Imitation Game is an 8/10.

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