Netflix Hidden Gems: The Imitation Game is one of the decade’s most overlooked

Chris DiLullo, Managing Editor

World War II is one of the most popular time periods in modern history to be portrayed on film, from Saving Private Ryan and the events of D-Day to Schindler’s List and the horrific suffering of the Holocaust. However, 2014’s The Imitation Game is its own World War II genre: a thriller with no action whatsoever.

The Oscar-winning picture from 2014, anchored by Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley, is both unique and complex. The movie focuses on the story of mathematician Alan Turing, a man recruited to crack the German Enigma code during World War II whilst dealing with his own personal issues, such as his sexual orientation in a time when homosexuality was not accepted by society.

A movie that is Certified Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes with a 91 percent approval rating from critics that pairs with its 91 percent approval rating from audiences, The Imitation Game has been received with high levels of praise. However, despite its reception, it hasn’t received recognition as one of the best films of recent years and was awarded only one Oscar for its adapted screenplay.

The story behind Alan Turing is captivating, and the cinematic work brings it to life with a tortured performance by Cumberbatch. The actor, a bonafide star within the media industry, is best known for his performances in Sherlock and Doctor Strange, but The Imitation Game remains the only film for which he has been nominated for an Oscar.

Cumberbatch’s emotional portrayal, which captures Turing’s brilliance, idiosyncrasies, and his innermost pain, is of the highest caliber and remains a model example of how to perfectly capture a character or individual and bring them to life on the screen. One scene in particular that takes place at the conclusion is particularly moving and ultimately unforgettable, a devastatingly significant moment delivered by Cumberbatch that is demonstrative of the harsh reality of Turing’s life and his crushing pain.

Another powerful component of the work is its score composed by Alexandre Desplat, the mind behind the music from The Shape of Water and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2. His theme for the film is fluid and emotive, a masterpiece that suits the tone and nature of the story. The composer succeeds in creating a theme that not only fits the movie itself, but develops its own identity and tells a story beyond The Imitation Game.

However, the work’s strongest component comes from its writing. It’s crafted with expertise and precision, every cinematic element coming together to form a picture that is efficient and cohesive. There is no moment of excess; everything included has significance and collaborates with the other elements to develop a tight, gripping, and emotional piece of cinema.

While scrolling through the endless list of indie movies, straight-to-video horror films, and quirky television programs, the average Netflix viewer may come across something simply represented with Cumberbatch’s face as a poster. However, don’t let the bland advertisement and seemingly boring artwork stray you away from The Imitation Game. One of the finest and most underrated films of the past decade, the masterwork on Alan Turing and World War II should not be missed by anyone.