The Imitation Game (2014)

Touching Performance of a Fascinating Story10/10

The Imitation Game is based on the true story of Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch), a cryptanalyst who became employed by the British Government during World War II to attempt to crack the notorious code machine that the Germans are using to send messages. Socially retracted, Turing struggles to work within his assigned team and instead chooses to work on Enigma, a machine of his own design that he believes will finally crack the code and help stop the war.

I really enjoy documentary style films and was really drawn to the story as I didn’t know much about the life of Alan Turing. His story is fascinating and tragic and the style of the film feels really quite personal and intimate, focusing a lot on the emotional and psychological aspects of his life as much as his work creating Enigma. Benedict Cumberbatch is one of my most admired actors and I feel he really shines in this style of film, much like he did in The Fifth Estate (2013). He’s such an accomplished actor that he brings an extra dimension of personality to the roles of these real life stories and he was absolutely the right choice for Turing, he is capable of offering the right amount of sensitivity that makes you warm to the character, and also excels at acting the socially awkward role without making it feel forced and fake. Cumberbatch was completely the right choice for the lead in this film and I’m really excited to see who’s story he will offer us next. There are a fair few other famous faces making up the rest of the small cast who all compliment the story well and enhance the character of Turing, but most notably I really warmed to Keira Knightly as Joan Clarke, the only woman in the team who not only brings a strong character to the mix but also a softer side that works really well with Cumberbatch and is particularly key towards the end of the film. It would be great to see the two of them work together in another film in future.

The Imitation Game is a beautifully well done film, with Benedict Cumberbatch offering a touching performance in this fascinating story. Regardless of how much you already know about Alan Turing’s story this film is well worth a watch, I can’t recommend it highly enough.


Captain Phillips (2013)

“Incredible Acting and a Fascinating Story” 9/10

This film tells the incredible true story of Captain Richard Phillips who captained a cargo ship that was hijacked by Somali pirates in 2009. Told from the perspective of Captain Phillips (Tom Hanks) himself, the story recounts his ordeal aboard the ship and the ways in which he bravely deals with the pirate leader, Muse (Barkhad Abdi).

Set nearly entirely aboard the ship that Captain Phillips took charge of, there is a dramatic tension running throughout the film, even before the story really kicks off. What really makes this film so good is knowing that the story is true and you can’t help but be captured by the bravery and courage demonstrated, and the realisation that these events are still so current, so memorable from news stories not too many years ago. It is no surprise that this film was highly nominated for Academy awards: Tom Hanks gives an outstanding performance as Captain Phillips, a heroic and likeable character that offers a surprising flip side to the way in which the Somali pirates are viewed and offering real compassion and understanding in a way that is truly admirable. However I felt that the limelight was stolen by newcomer Barkhad Abdi with an impressively convincing and complex performance as the hijacker’s leader, again offering the chance for the viewer to change their preconceptions with a persuasive character.

I highly recommend Captain Phillips, it’s gripping, thrilling and really changes your perspective on the situation throughout through some incredible acting. A must-see.