I read widely from many genres. Perhaps this blog will feature fewer ratings and reviews, but I certainly intend to write about my reading life - it's the subject I most find myself wanting to talk about.
"The Imitation Game," adapted from Alan Hodges' ponderous biography, "Alan Turing: The Enigma," makes a taught war story and character profile out of a book that was a wide-ranging discussion of mathematics, technology, and psychology.
Because Turing left no diary, very few letters, and his writing was largely esoteric mathematics, science, and logic, one wouldn't expect the book and adaptation to be particularly close. Films are dialogue-driven, usually, and there wast much dialogue to be found in the biography. However, it is clear what was most important to Hodges about Turing's life and work was in the film. His life was abbreviated for the film, but his words were fleshed out.
Although the film uses Turing's 1951 indecency conviction as a device to ratchet up the dramatic tension (as if being a Bletchley codebreaker wasn't enough), it's the flashbacks to his schoolboy days at Sherbourne and his pivotal friendship with Christopher Morcom that are most moving. Indeed, Hodges himself pins that friendship as a key to understanding Turing's entire life.
Sherbourne is just a few broad brush strokes; Manchester makes a statement about the conclusion and meaning of Turing's life. What is left out are his days at Cambridge, Princeton, groundbreaking writing about Turing machines, and later work in Fibonacci numbers. But who can argue with World War II, Bletchley Park, and Keira Knightley?
Is it a successful adaptation? As a small slice of a very big cake, I'd say yes, it tastes right. Is it a successful film? Absolutely.