Happy Saturday Everyone!
As you know from previous posts, I’m a bit of Benedict Cumberbatch fan so I know it’s surprising to everyone that it took me this long to watch The Imitation Game. But I have finally drooled over, er, I mean, watched the movie and it has easily earned its way into this week’s Saturday Selections.
About The Imitation Game
For non-Cumberbatch fans who somehow missed all the hoopla around this film, The Imitation Game revolves around Alan Turing and his work on cracking the enigma machine. Enigma was a typewriter-like contraption that encrypted codes for the Germans during World War II and allowed them launch oodles of very successful attacks. The codes changed on a daily basis which meant Allied code breakers had very little time to crack the code before it changed again. Had the code been left unsolved, the Allies could very likely have lost the war.
Turing, seeing the human limitations to solving the codes every day decides it would be best to fight machine with machine and sets about (with plenty of resistance) to build the first computer that will be able to crack the enigma’s code every single day.
The movie is a braid-like weave of time periods in Alan’s life. The main story line is, of course, his work at Bletchley on his machine. The film also explores a bit of Alan’s childhood days where his boarding school friend introduces him to code and cryptic problems. And the third story line is in 1951 when the police come knocking on Turing’s door and the eventual problems their suspicions cause for Alan.
How Was It?
I’ve been fascinated with the work of the code breakers at Bletchley and the group that worked with Turing to build the machine since I read a book about it many many years ago, so I wasn’t entirely unfamiliar with the story. Yes, there are historical issues with the film, and relationships and personalities are played up for the angle of the story line, but this is a movie. If you want the full on nitty gritty facts, please opt for a documentary about Alan Turing or the work of the Bletchley group.
That said, I thought the movie was done well. With a great deal of time spent thinking and tinkering and designing, the movie could have easily become a snooze fest, but it moves along at a pace that holds your interest. Cumberbatch brings a little of his Sherlock social skills (or lack thereof) into the part, but enhances it with vulnerability and awkwardness that keeps any thoughts of Sherlock at bay after Benedict’s first five minutes on screen. And of course, Keira Knightly plays the feisty yet caring role of Joan Clarke perfectly.
Even with its historical issues, The Imitation Game does a wonderful job at concisely explaining and showing the challenges presented by the enigma machine. The frustration of the team as midnight hits and an entire day’s worth of work has been rendered pointless (because the code changes at midnight) is palpable and a terrific aspect of all the many types of tension stoking this film.
So, if you enjoy historical films, well-acted roles and a nicely balanced dose of tension, find a copy of The Imitation Game.
Thanks everyone and Happy Saturday!
* * *
TAMMIE PAINTER IS THE AUTHOR OF THE TRIALS OF HERCULES: BOOK ONE OF THE OSTERIA CHRONICLES AND AN ARTIST WHO DEDICATES HERSELF TO THE TEDIUM OF CREATING IMAGES WITH COLORED PENCILS.