Benedict Cumberbatch dominates in The Imitation Game – first reviews round-up

It's a thumbs up for Sherlock star Cumberbatch, who critics call charismatic and stunning


There might still be three months until we’ll get to watch it, but Benedict Cumberbatch’s new film The Imitation Game has seen the light of day.


The WWII set film, following the life and work of enigma code-breaker Alan Turing, premiered last night at the Telluride film festival to a crowd of seasoned film critics. Who, naturally, have already started taking to the internet to have their say on Cumberbatch’s performance – and whether The Imitation Game is poised for awards season success…

The Hollywood Reporter call the film “engrossing, nicely textured and sadly tragic”. Reviewer Todd McCarthy praises Keira  Knightley as being “alive, alert and altogether sympathetic” before noting the similarity between Cumberbatch’s turn as Turing and his role as iconic detective Sherlock Holmes, concluding that “dominating it all is Cumberbatch, whose charisma, tellingly modulated and naturalistic array of eccentricities, Sherlockian talent at indicating a mind never at rest and knack for simultaneously portraying physical oddness and attractiveness combine to create an entirely credible portrait of genius at work.”

Deadline are confident that The Imitation Game is heading for Oscar success, saying: “this one just has Academy Award nominations written all over it.” Predicting potential nominations, reviewer Pete Hammond says the film could expect nods for best film, best supporting for Knightley and best actor for Cumberbatch, who he dubs a “stunning lead actor”.

Variety are in agreement, stating: “The Imitation Game is clearly an awards contender: Complex, impeccably executed and unique.”

Meanwhile HitFix lament the film’s tendency to brush over Turing’s homosexual relationships, though also highlight Cumberbatch as being the driving force behind the film, saying: “Cumberbatch does a wonderful job bringing this characterization to life and it’s often his performance that overcomes some of the film’s melodramatic tendencies (Alexandre Desplat’s fine score often helps to smooth out these bumpy spots as well). The Sherlock star also has the unique ability to create sympathy for a character who could come across as cold and callous in another actor’s hands.”


The Imitation Game is in UK cinemas 14the November