“During World War II, a mathematician leads a team of cryptanalysts as they work feverishly to break the Germans’ notorious Enigma code.” The Imitation Game is a movie about Alan Turing, a British mathematician and logician, who made major contributions to mathematics, cryptanalysis, logic, philosophy, and mathematical biology and also to the new areas later named computer science, cognitive science, artificial intelligence, and artificial life (Britannica).
The movie follows 3 timelines in a non-linear fashion, which is enjoyable when complemented by the narrative monologues by Benedict Cumberbatch (playing Alan Turing) and the deliberate tone that the movie adapts in telling the story of Alan Turing. The movie also starts Keira Knightley as Joan Clarke, Turing’s wife for a brief period who also contributed to the decoding of Enigma.
The best thing about the movie is the performance (both visual and vocal) of the cast, especially of Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley, and the fact that it tells a story based on Alan Turing. Another notable thing is the world design which, complemented by the palette portrays the era it is set in.
It could have been better, though. Joan was selected by Turing to work on decoding the Enigma. But we do not see her working on it enough. In fact, we do not see anyone working on it enough. All the audience sees is that some brilliant minds (stated in the movie, as we do not see examples, which feeds into the point even more) with pieces of paper doing something. And we see Turing working on paper and then there is the huge electro-mechanical computing machine. WWII is going on, but we do not see its intensity enough to understand the importance of the work that Turing’s team was involved in, and the moral gravity surrounding the decisions they make. One more aspect of the story is the sexuality of Turing, who was homosexual. But even that is also only touched.
It seems that the makers of the movie deliberately chose to avoid complexity, whether it be the intensity of the work, or the technical aspects of the work of Turing’s team and Turing’s machine (which was certainly an important step in the evolution of computing technology), or the Turing’s sexuality and the socio-cultural challenges he had to face. And it only touch upon the emotional impact on Turing towards the end of the movie.
Although I cannot say to what extent the movie represents the truth, it is a story worth telling and certainly worth knowing. This, and the brilliant performance of the cast are the reason I would recommend this movie. But I am not sure that I can say if the movie does enough justice to Alan Turing and the audience.