The Imitation Game is a 2014 British historical thriller film about British mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst and pioneering computer scientist Alan Turing, a key figure in cracking Nazi Germany's Enigma code that helped the Allies win World War II, only to later be criminally prosecuted for his homosexuality.
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It stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Turing and is directed by Morten Tyldum with a screenplay by Graham Moore, based on the biography Alan Turing: The Enigma by Andrew Hodges.
The film's screenplay topped the annual Black List for best unproduced Hollywood scripts in 2011. After a bidding process against five other studios, The Weinstein Company acquired the film for $7 million in February 2014, the highest ever amount paid for US distribution rights at the European Film Market.
The film had its world premiere at the 41st Telluride Film Festival in August, it also featured at the 39th Toronto International Film Festival in September where it won "People's Choice Award for Best Film," the highest award of the festival. It had its European premiere as the opening film of the 58th BFI London Film Festival on October 2014.
The Imitation Game will have a general release in the United Kingdom on 14 November 2014, and will be released theatrically in the United States on 28 November 2014.
The film portrays the race against time by Alan Turing and his team of code-breakers at Britain's top-secret Government Code and Cypher School at Bletchley Park, during the darkest days of World War II. The motley group of scholars, mathematicians, linguists, chess champions and intelligence officers had a powerful ally in Prime Minister Winston Churchill who authorized the provision of any resource they required. The film spans the key periods of Turing's life: his unhappy teenage years at boarding school; the triumph of his secret wartime work on the revolutionary electro-mechanical bombe that was capable of breaking 3,000 Enigma-generated naval codes a day; and the tragedy of his post-war decline following his conviction for gross indecency, a now-outdated criminal offence stemming from his admission of maintaining a homosexual relationship.
The film has received positive reviews with critics particularly lauding Cumberbatch's lead performance as Turing. It currently holds an 85% approval rating on the review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes with an average score of 7.4/10 based on 55 reviews. The site's critical consensus states, "With an outstanding starring performance from Benedict Cumberbatch illuminating its fact-based story, The Imitation Game serves as an eminently well-made entry in the "prestige biopic" genre." On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100, the film has a score of 67 based on 10 reviews.
Kaleem Aftab of The Independent gave the film a five-star review hailing it the "Best British Film of the Year." Lou Lumenick of the New York Post described it as a "thoroughly engrossing Oscar-caliber movie" with critic James Rocchi adding that the film is "strong, stirring, triumphant and tragic." Empire described it as a "superb thriller" with Glamour declaring it "an instant classic." Peter Debruge of Variety added that the film is "beautifully written, elegantly mounted and poignantly performed." Critic Scott Foundas stated that the "movie is undeniably strong in its sense of a bright light burned out too soon, and the often undignified fate of those who dare to chafe at society's established norms." In addition, praise was also given to Keira Knightley's supporting performance as Joan Clarke, William Goldenberg's editing, Alexandre Desplat's score, Oscar Faura's cinematography and Maria Djurkovic's production design. The film was also enthusiastically received at Telluride Film Festival and won the "People's Choice Award for Best Film" at TIFF, the highest prize of the fest with the film joining the ranks of Academy Award winners Slumdog Millionaire, The King's Speech and 12 Years A Slave which also won the honour in their respective years.
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