July 13, 2024 #1 Local News, Information and Event Source for the Century City/Westwood areas.

“The Imitation Game” deserving of eight Oscar nominations

Benedict Cumberbatch stars as Alan Turing in "The Imitation Game."
Benedict Cumberbatch stars as Alan Turing in “The Imitation Game.”

“The Imitation Game,” based on the biography Alan Turing: The Enigma, and starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley among others, is a tremendously moving film about a complex intellectual named Alan Turing, played wonderfully by Cumberbatch. Turing was one of the best code-breakers the world has ever seen. He also had some social problems that probably arose from the fact that he considered himself so smart and superior to others. His behavior as a result came across as off-putting to others.

Taking place during World War II, the movie shows how Turing and his team were able to crack the German Enigma Code while situated at Bletchley Park (a top secret facility) in Britain. While at first they start decrypting things by hand, Turing (who has been working alone per his request), soon develops a machine that is able to rapidly speed up the process.

Knightley, in another very strong performance as Joan Clarke, found herself a part of this team (the only female), as well as attracted to Turing. At the time, all the females at Bletchley Park, except for Clarke, were doing clerical work.

The film is to be commended for effectively exploring tough moral issues. After breaking the Enigma Code, Turing and his team had to decide when to intervene and when not to intervene, so as not to arouse suspicions in the Germans; thus, they had to decide who would survive various battles of the war and who would not.

Loyalty to country was also delved into insofar as we find out that there may be someone spying for the Russians within Turing’s team. Then there is the issue of Turing’s homosexuality and how he had to keep it a secret or risk losing everything. During the 1940’s and 1950’s in Britain, homosexuality was thought of as deviant and also a crime.

I did not find it believable that Clarke would have accepted Turing’s marriage proposal, due to his off-putting behavior and the fact that they had not known each other that long.  The opening scene of the movie where investigators are looking into a burglary at Turing’s place was a fairly confusing, awkward start to the movie.

The movie also features flashbacks to when Turing was a teenager at a prep school. These show how Turing was picked on and made fun of for being different and how he had just one friend who really meant a lot to him. I found these to be really effective and moving as we’re able to see Turing’s early struggles and how that had an impact on who he became.

The movie definitely seemed like a cross between “A Beautiful Mind” and “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.”

Like “A Beautiful Mind,” you have the tortured genius who is socially lacking and had innovative ideas at the time. The connection with “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” comes into play insofar as you have a spy within the organization supposedly working for the Soviets and a protagonist who is socially withdrawn.

The story really gets you thinking about how rough Turing had it. Along the way, we are able to learn about this historical achievement that changed history. The film was deservedly nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director (Morten Tyldum), Best Actor (Benedict Cumberbatch), Best Supporting Actress (Keira Knightley), and Best Adapted Screenplay (Graham Moore).

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