Decrypting The Imitation Game

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Turing and his fellow geeks work at cracking a code

With eight Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, The Imitation Game certainly does not disappoint.

Set in the mid-20th Century, The Imitation Game tells the true story of how Alan Turing helped the Allied Powers win WWII by creating a super computer that could decrypt Nazi codes believed to be unbreakable. And just when I thought the movie’s premise couldn’t get any geekier, Turing’s entire team, it turns out, includes the smartest individuals in Britain at the time, too.

I admit, I only got interested in watching the movie when the words “super computer” (so my language!) were uttered in the trailer. But as the film went on, it became apparent to me that The Imitation Game is not just about building a super computer or the shenanigans of a group of geniuses with cool accents. The Imitation Game also brings attention to sensitive topics such as homosexuality and women’s rights.

Personally, the homosexuality issue did not resonate so much with me in my current circumstances. Rather, the bit about women’s rights hit me harder. In the movie, there were a few instances, both subtle and notable, where Joan Clark, played by Keira Knightley, was given special treatment because of her gender. By “special”, I mean treated as a lesser being, and denied of opportunities which were available to men. Watching how Clark persisted at being given a chance to try out for a job with such desperation in her eyes reminded me of the place I’m in today. Being born in the right time and right country as a female, I don’t think I have given much thought to how privileged I am, compared to women of the not-so-distant past.

The film had good pacing — not so fast your head exploded with information overload, and not so slow as to be boring. Instead, the movie delivered enough to keep me (and my movie companions) on the edges of our seats. Also, I liked that there were flashbacks to Turing’s past, which explained a lot about his personality and actions. It felt as if the director was drawing a huge circle with the narrative, and at the end of it, everything makes so much sense. It’s kind of mind-blowing.

And we cannot forget about the cast, all of whom are very well-known and talented actors and actresses. The most notable are without a doubt, Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Mark Strong, and Charles Dance.

The most impactful performance was by Benedict Cumberbatch playing Alan Turing. Admittedly, I’ve only seen him on BCC’s Sherlock. So it’s no surprise that when I saw him in the trailer of The Imitation Game, I felt that he was playing the same character— the eccentric, tactless, smart guy whom no one likes. Despite that, I found myself amazed (and crying like a baby) at the raw and heart-rending scenes Cumberbach was in — an effect he didn’t have on me when he played Sherlock.

In conclusion, The Imitation Game is a must-see. In fact, I think it’s one of those movies which you just have to watch more than once— which I did. The second time watching it was just as good, especially when I started noticing all the details that I missed the first time around. Without question, The Imitation Game deserves all the buzz it’s getting for its Oscar potential.