Jan 25, 2015

The Imitation Game, 2014

The Imitation Game, 2014
Director: Morten Tyldum
Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthey Goode

Stage: Cineplexxx Kranj

My personal rating: 8,0

The Imitation Game in short: During World War II, mathematician Alan Turing tries to crack the enigma code with help from fellow mathematicians.

Preps: It is a popular time for biographies on scientists and I have been expecting this one for some time. I have studied some computer and internet history and it is in that time, with this man, that the first grandfather of today's computers was made. Therefore I was expecting to see some really cool insights. Plus, 6 Oscar nominations and Bletchley park reconstruction from the darkest days of WWII >> definitely a must see. 

Reality: The biography is normally portrayed from the beginning to the end or focused on the most important part of one's life. There are several cases where it has been done a bit differently and The Imitation Game is definitely one of them. Tyldum jumps from one part in Thuring's life to another (the youth; the cryptographic part during the WWII; the "after" - meaning the life right after WWII).

We are taken deep into the happening of decriptanalyst team in Bletchley park at that time. Unfortunately the movie lacks portraying what this institution stood for and who was working there, as it was filled with gifted individuals, engineers and people who all influenced science as we know it today (see more here). The director assumes we all know what this is, so in my opinion he could have spent some movie footage on that part, instead of definite focus on Thuring's sexual orientation and post WWII life. I also felt some technical details regarding Enigma and the way it worked would be something I expected seeing here, as well as the solution to the problem. Apart from that it was extremely interesting to see the giant Christopher (or later known as Ultra), as I would gladly like to travel there and if possible, see the reconstruction of this amazing machine. The movie inspires and makes you either travel there and see these sites or participate in something as amazing as this and make a difference in life.

Bletchley Park - the Mansion; founded in 1938

Next to Bletchley park and the happening there we got a sneak peek into Turing's childhood in a school for young boys, as well as post-Enigma life, after the WWII. It isn't a surprise that the top secret government team was dismissed and were obliged never to see each other again, and I would love to see the way the characters evolved after this project. Instead of this, the director decided to bring up the gay perspective and social problems one would definitely have in that time, should he have the "wrong" sexual orientation.
I believe it is something that could easily be spared and elaborated in the next movie and instead of this, it could be orientated towards the Enigma itself and resolving the greatest puzzle in the world. So the spectator could walk out with mind set on puzzles, cryptography and less on the fact that Turing was gay.

I believe that in many cases the director turns his eye towards some other social perspectives or issues that he personally feels need to be resolved or even thought of when making a movie. Putting it into the right scenography, photography, costumography and yes, ideals of the society in a certain period. Or issues in this case. It is just a shame that this takes the focus out of the most important thing here, resolving Enigma and the way they did it.

I am not neglecting the crucial part that social nonacceptance of sexual orientation at that time period played in Turing's life. It was a death sentence for Turing to receive hormonal therapy to cure his orientation and afterwards probably led to his suicide. Even more, his work and scientific achievements weren't praised until very recently. (more on Turing here)

We could all adapt some entities of the "fine" mathemathical way, which Turing used to express his everyday thoughts and feelings. Even though it means you can lose some so called friends, because you don't treat them so incredibly nice any more and you are not afraid to tell it directly. And.. if you want an answer, do pose a question and don't assume :D