In Review

The Imitation Game – reviews of 'superb thriller' and biopic

Cumberbatch is 'brilliant' as code-breaker Alan Turing in this fitting tribute to a hero

The Imitation Game
What you need to know

A new biopic about British mathematician and cryptologist, Alan Turing, The Imitation Game opens in UK cinemas today. The film is directed by Morten Tyldum (Headhunters) and stars Benedict Cumberbatch, who it turns out is distantly related to Turing.

The film follows Turing and a team of cryptologists at Bletchley Park during World War II as they struggle to crack the Nazis' naval code, Enigma, and after the war when Turing is persecuted for his sexuality. With Keira Knightley, Mark Strong and Rory Kinnear. 

What the critics like

This is "a superb thriller and a worthy biopic of a real hero", says Dan Jolin in Empire. It's a fitting cinematic testament to Turing's brilliance and one of the most entertaining and engaging films of the year so far.

"Benedict Cumberbatch is just brilliant in the role of Alan Turing," his face conveying a raft of unspoken emotion, says Kate Muir in The Times. He could read the alphabet – which is basically what he does in this film – and still be mesmerising.

Cumberbatch is "odds-on to be nominated for an Oscar for his brilliant turn as Turing", in the performance of his career and what is also the best British film of the year, says Kaleem Aftab in [4]The Independent. This is classical film-making, and whether it's as thriller, period piece, or social awareness movie, it never slips into cliche.

What they don't like

"It's not a bad film, but it's certainly a timid one", primly keeping Turing's sexual activity off screen, says Siobhan Synnot in The Scotsman. This prestigious Sunday teatime biopic has brittle wit and great performances propping up flat exposition and period detail ogling  - like Downton Abbey or The King's Speech, with added calculus. 

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