I think the last time I wrote a movie review it also had the word ‘Game’ (ok Games). I seem to have an affinity towards that word. I know some of you have been waiting on a write-up of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part I, but the movie was so ho-hum that it’s not really worth my time to write anything about it. In fact, this one sentence is one sentence too much. The Imitation Game, however, is a movie I recommend EVERYONE to watch.
I’ve always loved movies that are based on true stories and last night I watched a film that still has my mind tingling today. The Imitation Game, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley, is based on the true story of the late cryptanalyst Alan Turing.
In a nutshell, and I am fully aware that my brief description won’t do justice to Turing’s accolades and exactly what influence he’s had on our world, Turing was one of the most influential men (dare I say, THE most influential??) in the development of computer science as we know it today. It’s due to his brilliance that the concept of a computer exists in our present day – sure, computers would have developed sooner or later but Turing sped up this process by a good 30 years by single-handedly providing the concepts of a general purpose computer – an idea that was completely unfathomable back in the 1940s. A machine that can perform mental computations of a million men in just 20 minutes? Impossible! Not according to Alan Turing…
The Imitation Game focuses on the part of Turing’s life where he was recruited by MI6 during the days of WWII to help decode the Nazi’s Enigma machine, a machine created by the Germans to encipher and decipher secret messages. Turing’s pivotal role in creating a machine that cracked intercepted messages from the Nazis enabled the allies to strategically win several crucial battles. It is estimated that due to the brilliance of Alan Turing, WWII was shortened by 2-4 years and an estimated 14 million lives were spared. Winston Churchill stated that Turing made the single biggest contribution to Allied victory in the war against Nazi Germany.
You need to watch this movie because you need to know the story behind the man who has shaped your life as you know it today. If you’re reading this blog post, you have him to thank for it.
You need to watch this movie to see how society’s intolerance and ignorance inhibited the opportunity for people destined to do great things for the world. It was an issue back then and though things have progressed in the past 60 years there are still many barriers that need to be knocked down before we’ll be able to live in a truly free and equal society.
Alan Turing was homosexual; he never hid or denied this fact and once this information came to light he was persecuted. It didn’t matter how much he had given to the world, his sexual orientation was the one single factor that mattered and for that, he was demonized and made out a criminal. Given a choice between going to prison or to be treated with an experimental hormone to “fix” his sexual orientation, Turing chose the latter. Essentially, he was chemically castrated and rendered impotent. Joan Clarke, played by Keira Knightley, was a fellow cryptanalyst who faced social barriers of being a woman in a “man’s” field. Bearing the pressure to get married and have kids, as is a woman’s duty, and facing the stereotype of having an inferior brain, as women do, Clarke almost missed her chance in being one of the key players in breaking the Enigma.
It makes me boil to think about how many people were and are prevented from having their dreams and talents realized because of society’s intolerances of what is deemed right/wrong and appropriate/inappropriate.
From beginning to end, I was sucked into The Imitation Game. I laughed, I cried, I was enlightened; I felt so emotionally attached to Cumberbatch’s portrayal of Turing that I actually left the cinema enraged over the events and injustice that lead to his unfortunate death (that was not a spoiler alert FYI). I loved this movie – you will too. Satisfaction: Guaranteed.