Morten Tyldum’s new biopic, The Imitation Game, was a crowd-pleaser at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival; one of an onslaught of true lifers (along with Foxcatcher, The Theory of Everything and Wild) that left me feeling less than energized as a whole. I was a huge fan of Tyldum’s Headhunters, his furiously skewed take on Jo Nesbø.
Here, Benedict Cumberbatch is brilliant as Alan Turing, the English mathematician who helped crack the Nazi Enigma code, which provided the necessary leverage to end World War II. The problem is that Turing was an arrogant prick (although a certifiable genius, which Cumberbatch nails) with a huge secret (he was gay) that, during that time, was enough to lock him away in a historical closet. Yet somehow The Imitation Game recounts this story as if it were the stuff of a pristine television serial, and not a moving (and potentially complex) feature film. Thankfully, Cumberbatch is incapable of playing games. (PG-13) Grade: B