[Movie] The Imitation Game

Screencap from The Imitation Game

The Imitation Game… was a movie to defeat all movies. Featuring Benedict Cumberbatch as the brilliant Alan Turing, the poignant and deliberate performance was well paced, thrilling and at the same time ultimately tragic as you knew where this would end.

To be honest, I hadn’t done my homework before turning up to the movie. Unlike Ruben who lived on a diet of computers and everything about computers since he was young, computing ‘history’ is really relatively new to me. I wouldn’t have heard of the Commodore 64 without him and would have been one of the many ignorant souls to have said ‘Who is that?’ about Tim Berners-Lee up to only a few years ago.

Luckily, Ruben had filled me in on several details before the movie, so I knew what I could expect at the end, but the thrill of the chase to crack the Enigma machine, the battle of wills and ideas and power, the lack of sense of celebration that followed successfully breaking the code, and the ultimate downhill roll that came was definitely not what I had expected. I grabbed Ruben’s hand in the dark movie theatre and squeezed it so hard - what had he gone through all at the expense of others?

Despite the movie feeling too short, at the same time it was also exactly the right length. The cut scenes back and forth between Turing’s childhood and adult life slowly built up a picture of his sexuality and his beginnings into the world of mathematics and code breaking. Although it is not initially apparent, in fact the story jumps between three times - the now, as Turing gets investigated; the past, as a child; and the in-between; as a cryptanalyst working on the Enigma code.

It seems that there have been criticisms about its accuracy in depiction, but as a movie it does its job well enough in telling his story, carrying his legacy and ultimately drives me to learn more about this character that ultimately spawned our world of computing. I’ve even borrowed a book off Ruben, and am rather interested in finding the book which the movie is based off for a (more?) accurate version of events.

If this movie is about creating awareness of both Turing and promotion of gay and homosexual people, that’s definitely one area in which they have succeeded, if no other. If this movie is about creating a story that tries to give the audience a sense of what Turing’s life may have been like, create empathy, I feel they have also succeeded.

It seems this is the first of many movies that celebrate the works and struggles of amazing people though. As we waited in the dark theatre for the movie to begin, the trailer for The Theory of Everything screened and entranced us. I shall be most excited when this is released!