The Imitation Game

I am a little behind time, right ?

I recently read about this movie on Alan Turing, the British Cryptographer and Mathematician – “The Imitation Game”. And, I followed through by seeing the movie as well since I was fascinated with the review and a little something of what I read about Alan Turning.

I was totally mesmerized by the movie which has great performances by almost all actors. The best and the most gripping performance, was of course, by Benedict Cumberbatch, the British actor who acts as Alan Turing. Such an amazing performance, that you almost forget he is an actor – it is as though he is the real Alan Turing.

There are several reasons to like this movie – one, it signifies the time period during the Second World War when modern Cryptography was born; second, the War was won against the Germans by very effective code-breaking made possible by Alan Turing and his eclectic team; third, it is estimated that millions of lives were saved because this invention helped to shorten the War; lastly, but not the least, the movie takes you back in almost real time to the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s. and the early 1950s, and you can almost feel as if you were part of the fascinating events which happened in the life of Alan Turing.

There is never a dull moment in the movie that is so well directed and acted in – a saga of individual brilliance, eventually forced teamwork, a little romance, adrenalin rush whenever some idea strikes Alan or his fiance Joan Clarke (acted by Keira Knightley). One however, develops a feeling of melancholy just looking at Alan Turing and how his otherwise brilliant life and contributions go wasted away because of unconnected episodes which related back to his school friend.

One thing I could not understand is why would British Military Intelligence disband such a brilliant cryptography team at the end of the War. Why would they not retain these folks for doing something even better ? Atleast the U.S. would have made use of their enormous skills ahead of the Cold War with the Soviet Union ?

I would strongly suggest that you see this movie – but before doing that, please read up on Alan Turing, who is such a fascinating personality and a brilliant mathematician. That would explain why most brilliant people in life are not socially capable of establishing relationships, why they remain individualistic for most of their lives, why they do not at all feel bad about not being recognized, how their superior skills and knowledge make them look a bit arrogant, and why they “think differently” as Alan (Benedict) puts it in the movie when he is being interrogated in the police station.

Indeed a very fascinating movie with a fantastic portrayal of Alan Turing by Benedict Cumberbatch.


Vijay Srinivasan

21st February 2015


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