Plot: “During World War II, mathematician Alan Turing tries to crack the enigma code with help from fellow mathematicians.” (imdb.com)
Director: Morten Tyldum
Stars: Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Allen Leech, Mark Strong
Genre: Biography, History, Drama
The Imitation Game, beautifully directed by Morten Tyldum, is a devastatingly sad film about Alan Turing, a brilliant man who deserved so much better. During World War II, mathematician Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) joined a team of codebreakers at Bletchley Park, a top-secret facility, in order to decipher the Enigma code and win the War. There, he met Joan Clarke (Keira Knightley), a fellow codebreaker with excellent crossword solving skills, and they later became engaged for a time. Aside from his time at Bletchley Park, the film briefly shows Turing as a teenage boy, being bullied by his classmates. At school, his only friend and first love was a boy named Christopher (he later named his machine Christopher after his friend) who sadly died of tuberculosis, leaving Alan alone once again.
Alan Turing went to Bletchley Park in 1939 when he was 27 years old. Along with a team of cryptanalysts, they worked for years trying to crack the Enigma code. Years after the termination of the war, in 1952, he was arrested and charged with “gross indecency” after a brief relationship with another man. Turing never denied his homosexuality, nor deliberately kept it a secret. The man who helped the Allies win WWII by cracking the Nazi Enigma code, was persecuted and chemically castrated for years to “cure” his homosexual tendecies. In 1954, Alan Turing committed suicide. He was only 41 years old. Historians estimate that breaking Enigma shortened the War by more than 2 years, saving over 14 million lives. To this day, Turing is considered by many to be the “father of the modern computer”.
Although I must confess I’m not his biggest fan, Benedict Cumberbatch is exceptional as Turing. Keira Knightley, also brilliant, brings warmth into the film. Excellent performances by the rest of the cast as well: Matthew Goode, Mark Strong, Allen Leech, Charles Dance and the young Alex Lawther as a teenage Alan. The screenplay, written by Graham Moore, is largely based on the biography Alan Turing: The Enigma by Andrew Hodges.
The film has a few historical inaccuracies and artistic liberties were taken, although that was to be expected. Things were overlooked, others were given more prominence. However, the film is gripping, well-paced and full of suspense. Alexandre Desplat’s score, sublime as always, enhances the beauty of this film. The final scenes are heartbreaking and extremely well-acted. Definitely one of the most important stories of the last century and definitely worth watching.
Memorable quote: “Sometimes it is the people that no one imagines anything of who do the things that no one can imagine.”