The Imitation Game


(SPOILER WARNING!!! This article does contain spoilers, if you haven’t seen the movie, just see the first paragraph to be informed without spoilers!!!)

The Imitation Game is a very interesting movie with some good acting by Benedict Cumberbatch playing Alan Turing, really explores his inner demons and personality while trying to end a war. Rating: 4 Stars out of 5.

Benedict Cumberbatch (such a crazy and cool name) is definitely rising to the top of his game in his acting and movies. I started watching him since his role in War Horse, but really got my attention in his role as Kahn in Star Trek Into Darkness and seeing how good he plays in a villain role (what is it about British people becoming good villains). In that same year, he was probably one of the busiest actors in Hollywood starting in other movies like The Fifth Estate, the Oscar winning Twelve Years a Slave, and doing motion capture and voice for Smaug in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. He is certainly making a name for himself on the big screen (a pretty long name). Now he will be playing Doctor Strange in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, sky is the limit for this guy. For The Imitation Game, I will start with what I like, to what I didn’t like.

What I like, let me start off praising the acting of Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing. Turing is a genius mathematician and engineer. He is good for solving crossword puzzles in record times. He loves to solve the toughest puzzles out there just for the fun of it. Because of his gift, he tends to be prideful and obnoxious. Tends not to get along with other people, and rather becomes a loner, especially when it comes to his work. He can be an oddball at times where people are not sure to take him seriously or not. He is recruited by Commander Alaister Denniston, played by Charles Dance, to help with the British army as they are allies against Nazi Germany in World War II. He is teamed up with other people in a top secret mission to try and crack the codes used in a machine called the Enigma that sends encrypted messages in between the Nazi army which the British military intercepts. Their main job is to crack the codes and report to headquarters. Turing had a rough start with his team, because of his antisocial and prideful attitude, especially with Hugh Alexander, played by Matthew Goode. Hugh is another great mathamatician who is appointed the leader of the group. Hugh and Turing both are very prideful intellects which is why they butted heads a lot. At the beginning of their work it started off very slow and not only frustrated Hugh, but Turing as well. Turing believes if he becomes the leader and buys some equipment to make a machine it will speed up the process. He asks Commander Denniston for permission which was denied, but Turing decided to go straight to the Prime Minister of Great Britian, Winston Churchill, for permission and was granted to become the leader of the group and be funded a lot of money to create his machine, much to the chagrin of Commander Denniston and Hugh. As leader he fired some people from his group, and decided to find some real good puzzle solvers through an ad in the newspaper. During that process he meets Joan Clarke, played by Keira Knightly, a very bright woman who solved the puzzles faster than Turing himself and was immediately hired. The chemistry between Turing and Clarke was great to watch, because Turing had tremendous respect for her and knows that she is vital asset to the team. Clarke really becomes his voice of reason for Turing, trying to teach him how to become a people’s person and be nice to his team. Turing has worked hard in doing so, and really has earned his team’s respect. The turning point of the story is when Turning builds this electro-mechanical bonde machine that speeds up the process of looking through codes in trying to find any connections and algorithms, which Turning calls Christopher. To build the machine it cost a lot of money, and when it was not creating any results, Commander Denniston was ready to shut it down. Turning pleaded for not to happen, but just what Commander Denniston was about to fire him, Hugh and the rest of the team stuck behind Turning, and bought themselves another month to see if it works. Once the deadline is approaching and the team is losing hope, Turning recieved an idea to change the settings of Christopher, and it worked. Soon, they were able to crack the encrypted codes by the Nazi Germany army. This creates a powerful scene where through the messages they found out that Nazi Germany were going to surprise attack a city where British allies were stationed. Hugh immediately wanted to tell headquarters, but Turning stopped him. The reason Turning didn’t want to report is because of Great Britian immediately took action, Nazi Germany would suspect that the their Enigma codes would be compromised and would immediately change their codes setting, and the team would have to start from square one. This created some anguish with one of their team members Peter Hilton, played by Matthew Beard, because both of his brothers serving for the British army are stationed where Nazi Germany was going to attack. The team was stuck in a dilemma, but ultimately decided not to report it. After that, they secretly decoded all the messages and strategically prepared the British allies for whatever Nazi Germany was going to do. Because of what the team did, the war ended 2 years earlier. The movie also dives into the early life of Turning, really developing his character. It talked about how Turning went to an all boys academy where he was bullied for being an oddball, but then befriends a classmate named Christopher Morcom, played by Jack Bannon. Christopher was his protector and best friend, and really enjoyed each other’s company. Unfortunately Christopher died from a fatal disease which really affected Turning’s life. The movie also showed how Turning dealt with his homosexuality. At the time, homosexual acts were illegal in Great Britian, and Turning had to keep his sexuality a secret. One of the main reasons he decided to be engaged with Clarke is so people wouldn’t suspect that he was gay, and for Clarke’s parents to know that she is actually working and finding a good love life and not bring her back home. The scene where Turning reveals to Clarke that he was gay really didn’t faze her, and still wanted to work it out, but Turning tells her that the only reason he did it so she could stay and crack the Enigma code. I personally didn’t believe Turning meant that, but I guess him being in the closet was really putting a toll on his life. After the war ended, the team had to vow to keep things a secret and burn every records they have of their work. This made Turning move on to become a professor at a university, but was arrested and charged for indecency after having a relation with a male student. This led for Turning to be on house arrest and having to take medication to supposedly reverse his homosexuality, but instead created serious side effects for turning. The reason he chose to go that direction is so not only he can avoid jail time, but that the police won’t go to his home and take Christopher. There we realized that he called him Christopher, because in high school he was his first love, and the machine represents Christopher of some sorts and made it his prized possession. Unfortunately for Turning, the medication really made him mentally unstable, and his inner demons took control which lead him to commit suicide. What I found out is that Turning’s machine Christopher really started in the invention of computers that we have now, and how historically big he was in ending World War II soon. His life may be a tragedy, but his works will never be forgotten in history.

What I didn’t like, the movie had their moments where it kind of dragged on. It takes a little for me to understand the British jargon and completely understand their conversations. I had the same problem whenI was watching The Theory of Everything as well, and when it comes to British English, math, and science, I can get confused a little in what they are talking about. Lastly, Mark Strong was in this movie playing, MI6 Major General Stewart Menzies. To me his role in the movie was pretty insignificant other than being a cheerleader for Turning and his team. Kind of a wasted role for Mark Strong if you ask me.

Overall, this movie is a very good biographical film about Alan Turning and how critical he was for history of Great Britian and World War II. As the Oscar nominations are soon approaching, I believe this movie will get some nods, but as far as winning any, I’m not to sure. I guess I will be looking forward to saying Academy Award Nominee Benedict Cumberbatch, for a guy that works hard, that should the minimum title he should earn!!! Final Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars.

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