The Imitation Game
Updated: Apr 13, 2019
The DVD cover describes The Imitation Game “During the darkest days of World War 2, the British Government enlist the help of mathematician Alan Turing to crack Enigma, the unbreakable German encryption device. Turing and his team of code-breakers must unlock the Enigma Code before their operation is infiltrated and more lives are lost”. It continues to add “An intense and gripping thriller, The Imitation Game tells the incredible true story of unsung war hero Alan Turing, featuring a standout performance from Benedict Cumberbatch (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, TV’s Sherlock), alongside Keira Knightley (Atonement) and a top-notch ensemble cast”.
It’s not often that I take note of the description on the back of the DVD case, but I must admit that this is a truly accurate description that warrants that you watch The Imitation Game. It is available now on via the Sky Store and you can check out the trailer by clicking here.
There is a lot I want to rave about, but before I get there, I want to draw attention to something. This movie is not just about one war, several wars are going on. The obvious one, World War 2, then there is also the engagement and the personal war Alan fights, the internal politics, the suspicion of betrayal and espionage, and even homosexuality. As you would expect there are layers over layers of secrets, secrets that would be hard to keep to yourself.
Alan is portrayed as someone who is not very likeable; Alan is rude, his levels of intelligence are out of the world, with his troubled time at school make him socially challenged. It is tough to relate to Alan at his level, but it is not surprising as Alan is a gay person in a time where it is illegal to be so. As if prejudice was not enough any man “caught” participating in homosexual activity can find himself on the wrong side of a prison sentence.
Throughout the movie, as Alan and his team work tirelessly trying to break the code, you start to see the sheer beauty in Alan’s personality, his mannerisms, and quirks. With encouragement from Joan (Keira Knightley), Alan very slowly begins to embrace the team and his role within it, which is a continuous struggle as Alan prefers to work alone. How Cumberbatch portrays Alan Turing, immediately made me consider that Turing may suffer from Autism Spectrum Disorder at the high functioning end of the scale. No surprise to discover that British writer and mathematician Ioan James chose Turing as one of twenty people to feature in his 2016 book about famous historical figures who may have had some of the traits of Asperger syndrome.
I mentioned wars before, one of the biggest ones that the team had to fight was the one after breaking the Enigma code was actually keeping it to themselves. It is only natural when you have succeeded at something that you would want to share it. This one could save thousands of lives, yet they needed to be strategic with the truth, what they shared and who they shared it with. How does that one grab you? Could you hold on to a secret so big?
The team themselves are very different from each other and fantastically played by Matthew Goode as Hugh Alexander, Allen Leech as John Cairncross, Matthew Beard as Peter Hilton. The performances are all fantastic, and you can sense of silent acceptance that they are an elite group faced with an impossible mission. They are then surrounded by a talent pool that is deep as it is vast. Charles Dance as Commander Alexander "Alastair" Guthrie Denniston, Mark Strong as Stewart Graham Menzies, Keira Knightley as Joan Clarke, and Rory Kinnear as Detective Nock. That’s just a few of the great actors that make this movie one that is full of quality.
The all-important machine that was going save us all from a Nazi walk over. The machines nickname being Christopher was pretty cool for me for the obvious reason, but I find the relationship that Alan Turing and Christopher Morcom very special. When Alan was bullied at school, Christopher was his only friend, and clearly has a massive impact on Alan’s life. A blessing of true friendship, which we see re-developed when Alan first meets Joan. You could describe Christopher as Alan’s saviour; if it weren’t for him, Alan would have been pulled deeper and deeper into the bullying that he was subjected to and who knows perhaps the legend that is Alan Turing would have never have made it to Bletchley Park.
Alan Turing achieved more in a few decades than anyone could accomplish in a lifetime. His ability to imagine the unimaginable and put his theories down on paper, and then into practice, show a super-disciplined person capable of becoming an expert in anything he puts his mind to.
His achievements are not only the war-winning discoveries like the Enigma-cracking Bombe, but each theory or invention paved the way for generations of researchers, designers, and developers after him to develop, and improve upon his ideas. If it were not for Alan Turing, maybe we wouldn’t have had Steve Jobs.
Alan Turing went from drawing up a basic model for all computers to breaking down the constructs of complex chemical reactions with enviable ease. Alan’s story didn’t end after the war, there is so more to tell that it would merit another movie. Going from Bletchley Park, to MI6 and then Manchester University is more than enough to engage us in another movie.
My favourite quote: “Oh, even a broken clock is right twice a day.” I agree that several quotes are really inspiring and powerful and could easily make it to the promotional videos, but this quote delivered the way it was just made me smile. It was sarcastic, it is short, it is candid, and it is entirely accurate.
Overall, the script is brilliant, the directing was spot on, kudos to you Morten Tyldum (Passengers) and even the score is fantastic. Here is a little nugget that I didn’t know before, Alexandre Desplat completed the score is just over 3 weeks. You’re thinking, who’s that? It’s the same guy that orchestrated the score for the likes of; The Queen, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The King's Speech, Argo, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 & 2, Zero Dark Thirty, and The Grand Budapest Hotel. Yes, you know his work.
Thanks for stopping by.