Social commentary and solid acting make more of 'the Imitation Game'
The Imitation Game is a fascinating story that combines social issues with a calculated telling of Alan Turing’s life, accomplishments and downfall. As the father of artificial intelligence, computers and the leader of the team that broke the Enigma code, Turing certainly deserved more than what he got. With this film, maybe his death will give other people a new perspective on how we treat those who are different from us.
The movie featuring Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley tells how Turing and his team credited with ending German dominance in World War II. The British government kept Alan Turing and his breaking of the German encryption code known as “Enigma” a national secret for 50 years. The breaking of the code is estimated to have ended the war two years earlier than it would have otherwise ended and saved over 14 million lives.
Cumberbatch provides his usual brilliant performance as the older, socially inept and closeted homosexual Turing. He must have compared notes with his younger counterpart, Alex Lawther, whose mannerisms coincide with Cumberbatch’s own interpretation of Turing. Knightley is also good in the film as the pseudo-love interest and match for Turing’s intellect, and every other actor plays his or her part with believability and conviction.
Homosexuality is never explicitly shown on screen. It is contained in a school boy crush, a couple of guesses and an admission. Yet, it hangs over the film like humidity on a sultry summer day – unseen but felt nonetheless. The tragic end of Turing is not of one who was taken from us too soon but rather of one who was trampled by societal morasses and whose light was snuffed out even before he left this mortal realm.
The Imitation Game isn’t really about any of that, and yet, it may be all that the film is about. Human beings love violence because it feels good, especially when it can be exercised against those who are different. This is the triumph and tragedy of one man who was far ahead of his time, capable of great things and ultimately, destroyed by the very society that he saved.