Prior to receiving this Blu-Ray for review I had only heard good things about this film - great acting, a great script, and great direction and after seeing The Imitation Game I can only agree. This is a film that not only highlights one of the most important men in history, and particularly during World War 2, but also the unjust way in which people were persecuted for their homosexuality.
During the winter of 1952, British authorities entered the home of mathematician, cryptanalyst and war hero Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) to investigate a reported burglary. They instead ended up arresting Turing himself on charges of ‘gross indecency’, an accusation that would lead to his devastating conviction for the criminal offense of homosexuality – little did officials know, they were actually incriminating the pioneer of modern-day computing. Famously leading a motley group of scholars, linguists, chess champions and intelligence officers, he was credited with cracking the so-called unbreakable codes of Germany's World War II Enigma machine which helped to shorten the war and, in turn, save thousands of lives.
On the surface a movie about a group of mathematicians and cryptanalysts trying to break a code doesn't sound too exciting and despite the fact a large amount of the film is set during World War II, the film isn't filled with battle scenes or action sequences with only a few moments of newsreel styled footage. Norwegian director Morten Tyldum is a relative unknown as this is his first English language film, but his efforts here is admirable and keeps the film moving during its 114 minute runtime as it jumps between his childhood, work at cracking the code during the war, and police investigation in 1951. It's a fine juggling act that is handled well.
One thing I always love to discover when watching biographical films is how accurate it is to the real-life events. Sadly the filmmakers seem to have taken quite a few liberties with this film including the fact that there was a much larger group of people working to break the codes, the 'breakthrough' never really happened as in the film as the machine was always built with that 'breakthrough' in mind, Turing didn't send a letter to Churchill on his own, and even suggesting Turing was arrested in 1951 - it was actually 1952, while the chemical castration did not make Turing lose his mental abilities. There are plenty more examples, so one must go into the film aware of such inaccuracies.
While it strays from the actual events somewhat this remains a fascinating, beautiful film that deserves to be watched. Benedict Cumberbatch and Kiera Knightly are superb in their roles, as are the supporting cast, and while it's a movie about the cracking of encrypted German transmissions, it actually hit me more as a film about gay rights and decent treatment of human beings. A gorgeous film, well worth watching.
Somewhat unsurprisingly, like most new release films this Blu-Ray is nigh on perfect with a pristine transfer to Blu-Ray that shows off the most exquisite detail in the feature film. Presented in the films original 2.40:1 aspect ratio and encoded using the common AVC MPEG-4 codec. Being set prior to the War, during and then a few years after the filmmakers have a film that has a dull colour palette to suit the time period and it works well. There are a lot of darker scenes, all of which are handled well with this transfer with fine detail retained at all times.
There is only one other audio track on this disc an English Audio Description track which is encoded with a pretty paltry Dolby Digital 2.0 track at 224kbps, while a single Descriptive Subtitle track for the Hearing Impaired which are accurate to the on-screen dialogue.
There are a few extras on this disc worth your time, not least of which is the audio commentary which provides plenty of insight into the making of the film and the real-world events.
Audio Commentary: This audio commentary features Director Morten Tyldum and Screenwriter Graham Moore and provide an insightful non-stop commentary which is certainly worth a listen and details the production of the film, the creation of the story, and how events occurred in real-life.
The Making of The Imitation Game (22:46/HD): This is a pretty good overall look at this film, the real Alan Turing and how the allies broke the code. It's a little promotional , however there's enough here to warrant a look after you've seen the film especially as it gives a bit more insight into the actual events, as well as historical photos and footage.
Deleted Scenes (23:31/HD): Two deleted scenes are available on this Blu-Ray. The first is "Nock Is Being Followed" (2:17) and the second is "Nock Discovers Alan" (1:34). Both are brief, but we felt the second one could have remained in the film as it showed a pivotal moment.
Review By: Dave Warner