Movie Review: “The Imitation Game”

Based on a true story and by far one of the best movies of 2014, “The Imitation Game” has been nominated for eight oscars.“The Imitation Game” was the English-language debut of director Morten Tyldum. Graham Moore adapted the screenplay from “Alan Turing: The Enigma” by Andrew Hodges. “The Imitation Game” follows the story of Alan Turing in his childhood, during World War II, and in present time. The movie focuses on how Enigma, the machine that encoded German messages, was broken by Turing and several others at Bletchley Park during World War II. There are also undertones about how homosexuality is treated in society.

The movie features an incredible cast who play their roles perfectly. Benedict Cumberbatch stars as Alan Turing and Keira Knightley plays the brilliant Joan Clarke. Joan Clarke comes to Bletchley Park to help Turing solve Enigma. Matthew Goode, Charles Dance, Allen Leech, Mark Strong, and Rory Kinnear also play key roles, but the actors are not the only phenomenal performances in this movie. Alexandre Desplat, who also composed the scores for movies such as “The King’s Speech” and “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” composed the film’s music. Although the score is not the focus of the movie, it definitely adds to the cinematic quality of the film.

During World War II, one of the main goals of the English was to break Enigma. Enigma encoded German messages, but the code to break Enigma changed every day, which meant that the Germans could communicate battle plans without the knowledge of the English and their allies. At Bletchley Park, they were attempting to break Enigma. In a demonstration of his cunning, Turing told Commander Alastair Denniston, the man in charge of Bletchley Park, that the reason they needed someone like him is because they are trying to break Enigma. Impressed by Turing, Denniston gives him the job.

Alan Turing was primarily a mathematician. He was also greatly interested in Artificial Intelligence. However, he lacked the social skills that most people have. The movie does a brilliant job of demonstrating his lack of understanding of humans in that he does not quite understand societal norms. Turing was also homosexual, a fact which he hid from everyone because the society that he lived in was incredibly homophobic. He was a genius who helped to save millions of people, but in the end he was brought down by the society that he helped to save.

“The Imitation Game” mainly centers around the story of Bletchley Park. However, the premise of the story is Turing telling his version in present time. The film also flashes back to when Turing was a young boy. As a child, Turing went to an all boys school where he was endlessly bullied by his classmates. He had a single friend named Christopher, and the movie implies that Turing had feelings for his friend. Tyldum does an incredible job of demonstrating the complexities of how society deals with homosexuality.

Parts of the movie are heartbreaking, and the actors play their roles well. Turing’s story was kept secret for decades. One reason for this is that much of the information about the work that was done at Bletchley Park was not released until recently, as it was a government kept secret for over 50 years. Although Turing machines were never perfected, they led the way into a whole new path of research without which, we would not have computers. As with any historical movie, there are inaccuracies. If the movie is taken as a whole, it is overall well done, with good cinematography, a great soundtrack, and fantastic acting by all involved.

Erica Dettmer-Radtke is a senior at Mines. She is editor in chief of The Oredigger. Erica is a Statistics major and came to Mines from Boulder, CO. In her spare time, while not studying or working on the paper, she enjoys being outside, reading, photography, and cooking.

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