Every now and then, there comes a movie which sweeps you off your feet, makes you cry and firmly asserts what the stuff great man are made of. One such movie is the recent Morten Tydlum directed and Benedict Cumberbatch acted movie ‘The Imitation Game’. The movie is loosely based on the biography of Alan Turing by Andrew Hodges’ titled ‘Alan Turing: The Enigma’. Set in the World War II, this movie takes us on an epic journey through one significant phase of Turing’s life as a code breaker in Bletchley Park, the British code breaking center during the WWII.
The movie portrays in glowing terms many of the characteristics that made Turing the man he is. For the non-initiated, Alan Turing is considered to be the father of modern computer science. His idea of what are now called Turing Machines have lead to massive progress in computing. Apart from being a first class mathematician, Turing was a master code breaker and it is his genius that helped the Allies win the war against the Nazis in WWII. The movie salutes this genius and his code breaking skills in a slightly dramatized fashion.
The viewer follows Turing’s journey of mishap, failure, and finally success of breaking the German Enigma code with his small team of workers in Hut 8 of Bletchley Park. In between we get glimpses of his childhood life, which tries to make the portrait of this great man slightly less complicated and a bit more clear. Cumberbatch plays the role of Turing to almost perfection. His style and delivery is impeccable and is well on his way to the Academy Awards standards. In what can be regarded as his best role till date, Cumberbatch brings forth many essential characteristics of the life and work of Turing to the screen. He is amply supported by an excellent case and crew. It is a slight surprise that this is director Morten Tydlum’s first English language venture. We are only left to wishing more from his side in the future. Another bonus is a power packed performance by Keira Knightley in the role of Joan Clarke, one time fiancee of Turing.
The film after showing how Turing cracked the Enigma code, goes into the question of Turing’s homosexuality. The end of the movie is a poignant story of how one of the last centuries geniuses was brutally mistreated by the British government. The movie ends with showing a frail Turing after the effects of his court mandated chemicals rack a havoc in his life. This is followed by a few stills which tries to put some historical details into perspective. Incidentally, the name of the movie comes from a paper of Turing.
Although the movie is extremely well made and deserves all the plaudits it has earned so far, the fact remains that many historical inaccuracies remains in the movie. For example, Turing’s homosexuality was a bit downplayed throughout the movie, so was the fact that cracking the Enigma code was a far greater team effort than was made out in the movie. Some of the bloopers also are easy to catch, the most prominent being Knightley mis pronouncing Euler’s name. But nonetheless, the movie is a brilliant attempt at saluting one of the modern day giants of the scientific enterprise and is surely slated to become a classic in the days to come, joining the ranks of A Beautiful Mind and The Theory of Everything.
Name: The Imitation Game
Director: Morten Tydlum
Lead actors: Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley
Running time: 114 min