The Paw Print
Morten Tyldum has done justice to the British scientist Alan Turing’s fascinating story in the 2014 “The Imitation Game.” The film was adapted by Graham Moore from “Alan Turing: The Enigma.” Alan Turing, who is played by Benedict Cumberbatch, is a brilliant and socially awkward mathematician who invented and built an electronic computing device in the 1940s to crack the unbreakable German Enigma code. The Enigma machine was a piece of hardware invented by the Germans and used by the Britain’s for breaking codes. The Germans would use the Enigma machine to encode and decode messages before they were sent out over a Morse code machine. The Britain’s would then intercept those messages to figure out what messages were being sent. The British were unable to decipher these codes until Alan Turing and his team created a machine to decipher them. To make the task harder the German’s would change the code each night making it harder to crack the code with every different day.
Alan Turing joins the cryptography team with Hugh Alexander (Matthew Goode), John Cairncross (Allen Leech), Peter Hilton (Matthew Beard), Joan Clarke (Keira Knightley) the only woman on the team. While the team works on breaking the codes, Turing is busy creating the machine, which he calls Christopher, which will break the ‘unbreakable’ Enigma machine. There were a few setbacks in the process of breaking Enigma such as a search for a Soviet spy, the need for expensive materials, the program was almost shut down, and there was an active investigation into homosexual acts with Alan Turing. Allan Turing and his cryptography team were successful in cracking the Enigma code, which allowed for them to help the Allies to defeat the Nazis and shorted the war as many as two to four years. His work was highly influential in the future development of the computer. Not only did Turing help save the world, he continues to influence it every day.
The film addresses the treatment of homosexuals in the 1940s. Homosexual acts were criminal offenses in the United Kingdom during that time. Men were charged with gross indecency under Section 11 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act 1885. Over 49,000 men were accused and persecuted for homosexual acts. Alan Turing faced either experimental hormone therapy, which is chemically induced castration, or two years in jail. Turing decided to undergo experimental hormone therapy and this ended up causing cyanide poisoning, which can cause weakness, confusion and bizarre behavior. Alan Turing ended up committing suicide on June 7, 1954. He was only 41 years old. The Queen officially pardoned Alan Turing in August 2014.
This 114-minute thriller and drama film can be a little hard to understand at times but in the end “The Imitation Game” is full of exciting moments and you will find yourself caring for the characters. If you are looking for a biographical or a war film this movie is well worth a couple hours of your time.