Winning the ‘Imitation Game’

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Karen Kunawicz

Karen Kunawicz

There are three movies I wanted to see out at the same time, without the luxury to go see them all.

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1. That Thing Called Tadhana—A love story of sorts directed by rising talent, writer and director Antionette Jadaone. There’s so much positive buzz about this film, I am so curious.

2. The Imitation Game—This is the biography of mathematician Alan Turing and his contribution to the Allied war effort as a code breaker—with Benedict Cumberbatch in the lead role.

3. Wild—This looked to me like Eat, Pray, Love on steroids but has also gotten positive buzz.

Because I love nerds and history, I went with The Imitation Game. It is directed by Norwegian Morten Tyldum—who did Hodejegerne a.k.a. Headhunters in 2011—a dark, funny, suspense-caper film (look for Game of Thrones’ Nikolaj Coster-Waldau in this one too.) In The Imitation Game, Tyldum focuses solidly on the fascinating story of Turing and the performances of his actors.

Benedict Cumberbatch as the unusual, brilliant Alan Turing deserves his Academy Award, BAFTA and Golden Globe nominations (among others). Keira Knightley, Allen Leech (Downton Abbey), Rory Kinnear (Penny Dreadful), Charles Dance (Game of Thrones), Matthew Goode (Downton Abbey), and Mark Strong round out a superb ensemble cast.

Congratulations are in order for the casting and scheduling departments for coordinating the actors from Sherlock, Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones and Penny Dreadful and for likewise getting the very busy Ms. Knightley and Mr. Strong (he’ll be in the upcoming Kingsmen next) too.

The story takes us back and forth from Alan’s early years in school, to the start of war, up until 1951. We see scenes from England in 1939 when children were put on trains and evacuated out of the cities for fear that schools and homes would be bombed.

As the war heats up, Turing finds himself heading a group of puzzle solvers as they try to decipher Nazi messages on the “Enigma machine.” Turing is a genius on the right track but isn’t the best at winning over his team. Enter the fictional version of cryptanalyst Joan Clarke (Knightley) who make a case for girl power being the only (sometimes underestimated) woman on the team. She develops a strong friendship with Turing and gives him a few pointers on how charm the team whose support he badly needs.

There are so many sides to Turing’s story beyond revealing yet another fascinating tale from World War II (we’ve recently had Monuments Men and Valkyrie to name a few)—Turing’s bond with Clarke, his constantly being the odd man out, society’s perception of homosexuality as an illness, the connection of the Military Intelligence, Section 6 (MI6) to Turing’s work and how he tragically died so young—disenfranchised by society, his achievements hidden from his countrymen.

Remember the name Alan Turing next time you use a computer. And remember that kid who sees things differently, the square peg? Don’t force him or her into a round hole. In the words of Robert Palmer and Francis M. combined—it takes every kind of people to make this Kaleidoscope World go round.

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