Benedict Cumberbatch thrust into Oscar contention as The Imitation Game earns raves from Telluride
Story by Jack Foley
BENEDICT Cumberbatch has emerged as an early Oscar favourite for his performance as Alan Turing in The Imitation Game.
The film, which will open this year’s London Film Festival in October, received its world premiere at the Telluride Film Festival this weekend and instantly earned rave reviews.
Turing is widely credited with being the pioneer of modern-day computing as well as with cracking the German Enigma code and the film is a nail-biting race against time by Turing and his brilliant team at Britain’s top-secret code-breaking centre, Bletchley Park, during the darkest days of World War II.
However, Turing eventually became the victim of an unenlightened British establishment over his homosexuality.
Leading the fanfare of approval from Telluride was The Hollywood Reporter, which wrote: “Benedict Cumberbatch is cornering the market on playing exceptionally brilliant problem solvers, first on television with his dazzling portrayal of a modern Sherlock Holmes and now on the big screen in a superb performance as Alan Turing…
“Engrossing, nicely textured and sadly tragic, The Imitation Game is overly reluctant to dive into the nitty gritty of how the man who’s often called the father of artificial intelligence accomplished what he did, while the matter of his eventual arrest for homosexuality provides a potent and topical framing device.”
Variety was less enthusiastic about the film itself, describing it as solid but conventional, but reserved plenty of praise for Cumberbatch.
It wrote: “So innately compelling is Turing’s story – to say nothing of Benedict Cumberbatch’s masterful performance – it’s hard not to get caught up in this well-told tale and its skillful manipulations.”
It added: “The Imitation Game is clearly an awards contender: Complex, impeccably executed and unique.”
Deadline also predicted Oscar nominations at the very least for Cumberbatch, as well as supporting actress Keira Knightley. It credits the former with being “a stunning lead actor”.
The Imitation Game is released in UK cinemas on November 14, 2014.