cranky home
Reviews since 1993:   A-E     F-N      O-Z    Posters       Who We Are and Why We Do What We Do         Search the Site

Your Donations support the Site

amazon.gif
Top Selling DVD     Books

BLU-RAY DVDs:
50 Shades of Grey
Exodus Gods and Kings
Grand Budapest Hotel
Imitation Game, The
Into the Woods

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
Robocop
Selma
Theory of Everything
Ride Along
We're the Millers
The Great Gatsby
Akira
Avatar
The Avengers
Amazing Spider-Man
Girl w/ Dragon Tattoo
Dark Knight Trilogy
World War Z
Happy Feet 2
Iton Man 3 combo
Batman Begins
Dark Knight
Fifth Element
The Hangover
Hunger Games
James Bond 11 disc coll.
Lord of the Rings trilogy
Mission Impossible GP
Sherlock Holmes AGOS
Singing in the Rain
Snow White Huntsman
Star Trek Into Darkness combo
Star Wars Saga
21 Jump Street
Ultimate Matrix coll
X-Men First Class
X-Men Trilogy
X-Men Wolverine

 BLU-Ray for Family DVDs 
Alice in Wonderland (2010)
Bambi
A Bug's Life
Cars
Chronicles of Narnia set
Coraline
Ghostbusters
Harry Potter 1-8 collection
Iron Man 2 combo
Kung Fu Panda
Lord of the Rings Trilogy Pinocchio
Pirates of Caribbean trilogy
Pixar short films
Ratatouille
Rio
Shrek the Whole Story
Sleeping Beauty
The Smurfs
combo
Snow White & 7 Dwarfs
Star Trek motion pictures set
Star Trek TNG Season One
Star Wars Saga (1-6)
Toy Story combo
Toy Story 2 combo
Toy Story 3 combo
Wall-E SE

OFCS

Search engine by FreeFind
Click to add search to YOUR web site!
click to search site

 DISNEY PIXAR DVDs
Alice in Wonderland
Bambi
Beauty and the Beast
Bolt
Cinderella
Coraline
E.T.
Kung Fu Panda
The Lion King
Mary Poppins 45th LE
Pinocchio
Princess Mononoke
Ratatouille
Rio 
Shrek the Whole Story
Simpsons Movie
Spider-Man Trilogy
Spirited Away
Star Trek movies set
Star Trek TOS (TV)
ST:TNG complete tv set
Star Wars Trilogy (1-3)
Star Wars Trilogy (4-6)
Toy Story DVD combo
Toy Story 2 DVD combo
Toy Story 3 DVD combo
Wallace and Gromit
Wall-E SE

Buy Movie collectibles
TV/Movie Collectibles

movie review query engine

NY film critics online

Privacy Policy

imitation game
Click for full sized poster

The Imitation Game

Starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Mark Strong, Rory Kinnear, Charles Dance, Allen Leech, Mattew Beard, Alex Lawther
Screenplay by Graham Moore;
Based on the book "Alan Turing: The Enigma by Andrew Hodges"
Directed by Morten Tyldum
website: http://theimitationgamemovie.com/

Once Upon A Time there was a Great War, which the modern world called The War To End All Wars. Then, just as in the movies, there was a sequel. The one historical nugget, revealed early on in The Imitation Game, is one that yours Cranky was never taught in school. While the English Channel provided no protection from German bombers it did pretty much protect the United Kingdom from invasion. That is no protection if your people are slowly starving to death. That is not the story told in this film but it is a part of . . .

IN SHORT: One of the Best of the Year. [Rated PG-13 for some sexual references, mature thematic material and historical smoking. 114 minutes]

Cryptologists in Nazi Germany built a box, called Enigma, that encoded messages using a simple letter substitution that worked in 159,000,000,000,000,000,000 ways. They transmitted messages, via radio telegraphy, without any kind of protection. Every day, British code-breakers would receive the messages and be able to do nothing but scratch their heads. Breaking the code, was considered a mathematical problem by the Brits, which is how we are introduced to one Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch), a genius greatly lacking in basic social skills. No, not in the Jim Carrey sense; Turing has no peer and he knows it and doesn't much care what you think. Hired by the British military to try to crack the code -- unknown to the Germans is that the Brits are in posession of an Enigma box -- Turing pisses off his soon to be commanding officer Commander Alastair Denniston (Charles Dance) during the job interview and disassociates himself with the rest of the Top Secret Staff, led by Hugh Alexander (Matthew Goode), a man about town, chess champion, putz. Someone has got to go and, well, the WWII equivalent of the internet does wonders to clear out the chaff . . .

That means Turing sends a letter to the most powerful man in the United Kingdom (rhymes with "Winston Churchill" who is not a member of the cast) and the result is gives Turing free reign to hire a new staff and build a ridiculously expensive machine of his own design. Part of Turing's team was, perhaps, the one woman in this world who was smarter than he. Her name is Joan Clarke (Kiera Knightley). Proven to be a better mathematician than Turing, she is hidden away in the secretarial pool, sneaked into the main "situation room" at night to review the day's work, correct and offer input. Yes, of course, love blooms between the two. Not for reasons you'd expect.

As for the machine that is developed, it is what we now call it a "computer." Turing nicknames it "Christopher," after a childhood friend who was more important to Turing than that friend would ever know. That storyline we aren't going to reveal. As for the machine, Turing will spend the rest of his life developing and improving upon it.

In 1951, in sequences that eventually frame the wartime story, a closeted homosexual professor at Britain's University of Manchester gets the crap kicked out of him, and his house ransacked. A detective named Robert Nock (Rory Kinnear) investigates the crime, even though the victim refuses to cooperate or press charges. You see, being gay in 1950s Britain was a criminal offense and, even for the man who saved the British Empire, love in action means jail time. Once behind bars, he spills the beans about the one story he is sworn to secrecy not to tell; the greatest secret of the Empire. How he cracked the Enigma Code. We've given you three male actors to choose from if you really don't want to watch one of the year's best on a big screen.

This is where The Imitation Game becomes either an Important Film about Intolerance in Times Barely Gone By or it becomes another self important movie that tries its damndest to balance two radically different stories. We get a whole messa films like this at Awards-wannabe Times. We've already seen two (this week), so forgive the slight. We'd love to be cheering for the film described in that first sentence but director Morten Tyldum construction left us feeling cynical. Which is a terrible way to feel once you see the afterward that ends the film, which you will see because the wartime story alone is well worth the price of a ticket. If you've been following this site for any substantial length of time, you already have an opinion as to whether we know what we are talking about.

That written, as we have done for the last 20 years, every Oscar-wannabee film that has a reason to want that statue gets the same dollar rating from this site.. We lay out which of these specially rated films is the "best" on Christmas Day.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to The Imitation Game, he would have paid . . .

$9*

Cumberbatch and Knightley will both get nominations for Best acting as the various critics groups and Academies start rolling out their end-of-year lists. That includes ours, though one of the pair has already been outperformed by another performance. As we write, it's still early in the battle.

amazon com link Click to buy films by Roger Donaldson
Click to buy films starring Pierce Brosnan
Click to buy films starring Olga Kurylenko
Click to buy books by Bill Granger

The Cranky Critic website is Copyright © 1995  -  2017  by Chuck Schwartz. Articles by Paul Fischer are Copyright © 1999 - 2006 Paul Fischer. All images, unless otherwise noted, are property of,©, ®, their respective studios and are used by permission. All Rights Reserved. Not to be used or copied for any commercial purpose. Academy Award(s) and Oscar®(s) are registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.