Alan Turing was a key figure in helping the allies win World War II. Known for his expertise as a mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst, and philosopher, he was a pioneering computer scientist who created the template for what would become the computers we use today. However, his accomplishments were never publicly known due to his criminal prosecution for being a homosexual.
Benedict Cumberbatch stars as Turing, and along with his team of code-breakers, were responsible for cracking Nazi Germany’s Enigma code. This is particularly important as this was the Nazi’s primary code for communicating with its forces around the world. Many of the worlds brightest minds had tried and failed to find the solution to the complex code, but it was this group of minds at Britains top-secret overnment Code and Cypher School at Bletchley Park (Charles Dance), a head strong military man with his suspicions about Turing, and MI6’s Stewart Menzies (Mark Strong), who has a keen interest in the results of the groups work.
After several unsuccessful tries at breaking the code, Turing began his work to develop a machine that could find a way to break the code on its own. Turing took his thoughts directly to Prime Minister Winston Churchill and was given ultimate power over the project. Assembling a team which consisted of scholars, mathematicians, linguists, a chess champion, the team continued to search for an answer to the riddle while Turing began his work on the machine. Turing, being a socially awkward person, found it difficult to work in a group setting and alienated himself from his coworkers. The caring voice of Joan Clarke (Keira Knightley), a brilliant mathematician who would aid Turing into winning the trust of his team, would become his most trusted confidant. The clock was ticking on the group to crack the code as the war began to reach a breaking point for the allies. The pressure to achieve his life’s goal was beginning to take hold.
We experience the troubled childhood of the young genius as his deals with the loss of his most cherished love, we endure the journey of the genius responsible for the end of the war, and we suffer through the the tragedy of his post-war decline following his conviction for gross indecency, but we are rewarded with the story of a brave, tortured soul who became a national treasure. The performance of Benedict Cumberbatch is one to cherish. The portrayal of such a frail human spirit who defied the odds and shaped the history of the world is inspiring and Oscar worthy. Keira Knightley is strong, charming and a perfect compliment to Cumberbatch. Each scene between the two was magical. Matthew Goode is tremendous as Turing’s reluctant ally. Goode engaged his characters spirit head on and challenged Cumberbatch’s Turing as a chess champion would. Each member of the remaining cast, including the wonderful Mark Strong, was sensational with each providing a wonderful compliment to the telling of the story
Overall, The Imitation Game is an absolute treasure and should no doubt hear its name called at nomination time this year. A captivating story of loss and tragedy, but also one of triumphant victory which will no doubt engulf you in your thoughts of how sexual persecution has crippled our society for too long. Alan Turing deserved better, thankfully he has finally gotten his due.
4 out of 5
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