I is for The Imitation Game, a brilliant film that won Best Adapted Screenplay at the Academy Awards for Graham Moore. The screenplay was based on the book Alan Turing: The Enigma by Andrew Hodges. The film for me is a tribute to Turing who helped crack the Enigma code of Nazi Germany, thus shortening the war by an estimated two years and saving millions of lives.
The film is rated PG-13 for some sexual references, mature thematic material and historical smoking. Unusual within the film is that the character Alan Turing provides a voiceover at times, allowing us to hear his thoughts about his life and the work to decrypt Enigma.
Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) is an intense mathematician who applies for a job at the radio factory, which is really a covert operation to crack the Nazi coding. Among others traits, including a genius mentality, he is a homosexual, and has struggled with tormentors since a boy in boarding school because he is different. We learn about his past as the action moves between three different time periods: World War II; the 1950’s when he was vilified as a homosexual; and as a boy, struggling with his feelings and idiosyncrasies.
Alan rises to head the department and hires Joan Clarke (Kiera Knightley), which is unusual, as women were rarely given that type of position. She was brilliant, and Alan recognized it. She cares deeply for him, and is his protector of sorts.
His colleagues and fellow mathematicians have to warm up to him, and it takes some time getting over Alan’s brusque ways and demanding nature. Until that breakthrough Alan has a very difficult time at a job he takes very seriously, and is also ridiculed by his superiors who are impatient with what appears to be lack of progress in breaking the Enigma code.
The horrible practice of drugging homosexuals to rid them of their predilections is addressed in this film, as that is what happened to Alan. A barbaric practice, one that I hope never returns. That part of the film was really heartbreaking.
Actor Alex Lawther plays the young Alan exquisitely. I have rarely seen such a completely nuanced performance from someone, and you just feel that he is really Alan the young teen who grew up to be the adult Alan, acted so brilliantly by Benedict Cumberbatch.
Alexandre Desplat composed the beautiful music for the film, which was nominated for Best Original Score. Quite unique is that he lost to himself when he won Best Original Score that year for The Grand Budapest Hotel. I have always enjoyed Desplat’s scores. His compositions accent many films and render them more beautiful and touching.
I highly recommend this film. It is the best illustration of how the geniuses among us are different, and thank goodness they are. Their differentness may well be their gift to humanity for the benefit of all of us. The Imitation Game is a really great film, expertly written, acted and executed.