‘The Imitation Game’ – A smart, intriguing, “must-see” film

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History is rich with examples of extraordinary people being placed in extraordinary circumstances, providing a success no one else might have achieved.  A notion similar to President Abraham Lincoln’s enormous feat of keeping the nation together after the Civil War, General Dwight D. Eisenhower calling the shots on the successful D-Day invasion, or NASA engineers responding to a president’s challenge to land on the moon before 1970. It’s through nature’s fate that brilliant and visionary souls often find themselves facing difficult circumstances to which extraordinary results are not just asked for, but are fully required. These desired outcomes link the destiny of one person’s life to a particular time and place in our history.  One such historic moment occurred when a gifted British math scholar found himself standing between victory or defeat for Great Britain and the Allies in World War II.

“The Imitation Game” illustrates how a brilliant mathematician’s life took several twists and turns before arriving on the scene at Bletchley Park, 50 miles outside London. Based upon a true story, the movie depicts the British government’s secretive MI6 spy agency’s attempt to break coded German messages in WWII. Unable to stop Nazi Germany’s land and sea assault throughout Europe, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill recruited extraordinarily smart people to decipher the mindboggling challenge presented by Hitler’s unbreakable Enigma message machine.  

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British actor Benedict Cumberbatch (“Star Trek: Into the Darkness”) shines brightly as the real-life math genius and cryptanalyst Alan Turing, one of his generation’s greatest thinkers and credited forefather to today’s modern computer. Joining Cumberbatch’s exceptional performance is a cast just as rich and talented, including Academy Award winner Keira Knightley, who plays a fellow code-breaker and adept crossword puzzle solver.

The Imitation Game

Relative newcomer Morten Tyldum (“Headhunters”, 2012) directs this educational and fascinating story. Tyldum expertly holds several subplots and story tangents close to his vest, while keeping audiences mesmerized on the larger task at hand—break the German code and win the war. However, the director uses timely flashbacks to Turing’s youthful boarding school days to capture critical events of his life. 

Behind the mathematical statistics, complicated decipher computations, and spy games rests a compelling story of a young boy struggling to be accepted in life.  As fate would have it and after being spurned by so many growing up, Alan Turing found himself in the extraordinary position to help save and affect millions of lives. “The Imitation Game” splendidly illustrates how Turing met his appointment with destiny–a time and place requiring his extraordinary mind and talents. It’s that unlikely connection of Alan Turing to the outcome of World War II, which makes this film so remarkable, intriguing and a “must-see” winner.

Grade: A+

“The Imitation Game” is rated PG-13 with a running time of 1 hour and 54 minutes.

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