Some movies just seem to be designed to be nominated for everything during an awards season, even if it wasn’t its makers’ intention –usually, the big producers are the ones that make sure the films go that way.
In the case of The Imitation Game, it couldn’t be more obvious. Take the story of Alan Turing, who was one of the brightest minds this country has had, was unfairly treated and had a tragic ending, add the likes of talented actors like Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley and I could have told you, before the film was even shot, that this would be one of the most nominated movies of the year.
For those of you who don’t know about Alan Turing’s life, he cracked coded messages from the Nazis during World War II, something that helped the Allies win the war. And ten years later, he was prosecuted for being homosexual, chose chemical castration over jail and committed suicide two years later.
In The Imitation Game, Turing is portrayed brilliantly by Benedict Cumberbatch, who manages to find a balance between the irritability of the character and the tragedy of his life. It is truly a performance that is only being rivalled by Eddie Redmayne’s Stephen Hawking in this awards season.
The only problem is that, by putting all the weight of the film on Cumberbatch’s shoulders (it is, after all, a movie about Turing), the rest of the characters lack depth. So you have actors like Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Charles Dance or Mark Strong, all thespians who could give riveting performances, being used as mere puppets to move around Cumberbatch, something that is entirely the script’s fault. Every single scene with Turing is astounding, emotive, powerful, and yet I cannot remember the names of the other characters, simply because they weren’t developed enough, which is a shame. It wastes the talent of great British actors. Graham Moore is just starting as a screenwriter, so he still has a long way to go while he learns and gets better.
Despite this flaw, The Imitation Game is set to be one of the greatest movies of the year, if only because of Cumberbatch’s not-unexpected superb performance. Add to that Alexandre Desplat’s fitting score (one of the best of the year, along with Hans Zimmer’s for Insterstellar) and tears are guaranteed.