Score Reviews‎ > ‎

The Imitation Game by Alexandre Desplat (Review)

posted Nov 22, 2014, 8:45 PM by Koray Savas

Alexandre Desplat continues his incredibly strong year with The Imitation Game, a drama centered on mathematician Alan Turing and his race to decrypt Nazi coded messages during the height of WWII. It is Desplat's fourth film so far in 2014, with Unbroken to be released next month. Opposed to his other scores from earlier this year, The Imitation Game is more of what you would expect from an Alexandre Desplat score. It has a plethora of his usual harmonies and minimalistic rhythms, but its emotional resonance places it above his typical dramatic flare.

Being quite similar to his own The Ghost Writer and Zero Dark Thirty, the music here is often a whirlwind of hypnotic minimalism and heartfelt writing for piano and strings. There is a great sense of pacing and throttle that keeps the album moving at a fresh and interesting pace, with a real resounding build to a sparse and touching climax. This is truly Desplat firing on all cylinders... again. His uncanny ability to churn out amazing music at this rate is unparalleled in today's Hollywood, and reminds of Morricone at his most busy. This score was a 2-week replacement job, which makes it all the more impressive with how effortlessly Desplat lures you in and keeps you entranced in his melodic structures. Amongst the flutter and churning, there is a nice weight to the pathos that cuts cleanly to the core of the listening experience. The first half of the score features most of the progressive and standout cues, but there is also an underlying darkness to the rhythmic overtones that gets fleshed out really well in the second half. Between "Becoming A Spy" and "Because Of You" is where the music folds into a haunting and contemplative finale, with a warm rendition of the main theme in "Alan Turing's Legacy" to conclude the album.

The Imitation Game has all the ingredients of an Oscar-nominated score. Fans of Desplat's more somber dramatic writing will find plenty to love here, but those that are looking for another stylistic entry, such as The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Monuments Men, or Godzilla, will have to hold out a little longer until his next masterpiece. At this rate, it shouldn't be too far off.