Alan Turing: Sometimes it’s the very people no one imagines can do anything who do the things that no one can imagine.
Alan Turing, the grandfather of the modern computer, and the man Winston Churchill claimed made the single biggest contribution to helping the allies win the Second World War, died of cyanide poisoning, likely self inflicted, just days before he was going to turn 42. His life was not at all an easy one, growing up bullied for his genius, losing his only friend when he was still a teenager, but he still managed to mature into one of the foremost mathematicians of his generation. The new film by Norwegian director, Morten Tyldum, THE IMITATION GAME, explores how this war hero could have possibly been treated with such disregard in the time leading up to his death just because he was gay. Fortunately, it does so with the brilliance that the man deserves.
No offence to “Sherlock” of course, but I’ve been waiting to see when Benedict Cumberbatch would find a film role worthy of his talents, one that would get him the recognition he so rightfully deserves, and THE IMITATION GAME may just be it. Cumberbatch plays Turing very delicately. He is somewhat fragile and keeps his distance from those around him but he is always confident in his own abilities and refuses to let anyone get in the way of his success. He is a strong man with a strong character but he does not do people well, which may be for any number of reasons. Regardless of the root, Cumberbatch conveys how reserved Turing is without hinting too much at why that is overtly. And Tyldum is smart enough to keep his cards close to his chest too, as he only allows us, if you don’t already know the history already, to know of Turing’s fate after we’ve seen what great things he accomplished first.
For Turing, cryptography was just like interacting with people, as humans say one thing and leave the other person to decipher it. Tyldum does not try to hide anything in THE IMITATION GAME and it is his directness that makes his point so palpable.