The Imitation Game written by Graham Moore, is both a thrilling and mind blowing film. The first five minutes of the film establish mood, setting, and character. The main character Alan, played by Benedict Cumberbatch, is a remarkable character. Alan happens to be the first character we meet in the first few seconds of the film. He is sitting in what appears to be an interrogation room. There is no explanation for it, just a narration of him talking. Viewers are then brought to his house and able to see the eccentric lifestyle that he lives. Alan repeatedly demonstrates personality traits that we recognize in the first few minutes of the film. He is arrogant, narcissistic, and socially awkward. He is consistent in his behavior throughout the film.
Hinted in the opening scene, Alan is a very unique person. Missing lots of knowledge about social norms, he finds himself many awkward situations. The opening scene makes viewers almost feel appalled at his behavior. Alan’s voiceover states firmly that he “wants you to listen, not ask questions, and not interrupt; if you cannot follow these instructions he insists you leave the room immediately.” The quick and fast narrative form introduced here is held throughout the movie. The few moments we have with him at the start are well met with the same behavior throughout the movie; he sometimes even exceeds the expectations of viewers on what he thinks is acceptable. For example, when Alan was taken off the project initially, he decided to appeal directly to the prime minister forgoing all protocols and formal appeal processes. Later, when Alan is put in charge of the project, he criticized all team members and recommended firing most of them, as all team members were present in the room.
We are greeted with “1954” in the introduction, giving us the year in which the first few minutes take place. After that, other parts of the setting are easily identifiable. Based on the accents and clothing, viewers can infer that the movie takes place somewhere in Europe. When more characters are introduced, it becomes more obvious that we are in England. A few more moments into the movie reveals that MI6 is aware of Alan, and shows which automobiles they drive, further supporting the idea that the setting is in England.
Set Design and costume design also establishes a sense of desperation and foreshadows the difficulties that the viewer will discover in Alan’s life. Our introduction to Alan’s home is seen through a police encounter, the police visit Alan’s home due to a reported robbery. The interior of his home is in disarray and, and Alan is in a bathrobe, looking disheveled. this creates a sense that Alan has lost control over his world and he is indignant, as well as desperate.
Once place and time are established the mood is created by the music. Often in a film, the effect music may not be apparent to the viewer until he or she tries to experience the movie without music. The opening utilizes music for dramatic effect, allowing for a great introduction to the film. Music used in the opening sequence is a fast tempo. The piano piece in combination with the voice-over narration, creates an intense mood from the beginning of the film. Other musical segments throughout the film solidify the sense of urgency established in the movie, but variations in the score punctuate other emotions in the film, such as intense sadness, joy and achievement.
There are many factors in the opening scenes of this movie that contribute to the plot and foreshadow different settings, personalities, and many more details that will emerge throughout the movie. The cinematography is not as important in the first five minutes of the film as the narration of the main characters. Beginning the film with a scene that occurs late in the timeline of the story, allows for greater immersion into the film in the first five minutes. The film relies heavily on dialogue, and was superbly written. Graham Moore, the screenwriter, did an excellent job of turning a true story into a compelling movie. Overall, from the music to the narration, The Imitation Game had a perfect opening scene that was able to set up the rest of the movie with a constant flow of a intensity and suspense.
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