Movie Review: “The Imitation Game” – The Enigma Within

Written by Samah Ali January 13, 2015

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Alan Turing: mathematician, cryptologist, war hero, and indecent man? Benedict Cumberbatch plays the arrogant, socially inept protégée who made the first turning machine, now known as computers. An enticing and progressive tale, “The Imitation Game” is much more than typical war movie.

Alan Turing (Cumberbatch) and an elite group of cryptologists are hired to break a Nazi code and win the Second World War. Instead of decrypting relayed messages from the Germans, Turing decides to build a turning machine that would decrypt every code and expose battle plans for the day. To do so, Alan’s new friend Joan Clarke (Keira Knightly) teaches him to be friendlier with his colleagues to get help building his machine. Fighting norms against gender roles, both Turing and Clarke find a way to make the machine a reality and end the war.

“I think Alan Turing is hiding something.”

Storytelling is a beautiful thing, a necessity to a great film, and Graham Moore’s adaptation of Andrew Hodges “Alan Turning: The Enigma” is truly spectacular. Synthesizing Turing’s childhood, emphasizing his lonely habits and unfortunate attraction for bullies to translating his pains into his pompous adult character that causes people to hate him. Misunderstood, Turing’s quiet yet narcissistic natures are outlets for the inner demons he fights. Weaving through the past, present, and future, Turing’s life is a web of secrets that makes him a recluse and probably one of the most complicated characters of the year. With such little information on the man, Hodges and Moore captured Turing and did him justice.

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To add to Turing’s, wealth of secrets, he had to hide his true identity as a gay man. Illegal at the time, Turing kept his habits to himself until he decided to propose to his colleague Joan Clarke, a woman of her own tribulations. Fighting gender norms by joining the team of male mathematicians, Clarke had to earn a spot at the workplace and dealt with numerous sexist comments that doubted her intelligence. Her parents’ traditional values of marriage and children influenced her engagement with Turing, all to stay and be a part of something legendary. Cumberbatch and Knightly killed it, to say the least.

“This is the most important work that I will ever do and no one is going to stop me!”

“The Imitation Game” seemed to have an endless supply of layers that unraveled as each scene progressed. First it was a war movie, then about underdogs, then about women in the workplace, then about sexuality laws, then about right and wrong. Informative and moving, the movie showed how difficult it was to be someone in a high level of work that did not fit into the straight-white-male persona. Closeted away like the problems they were, Turing never fit in with his coworkers and Clarke barely worked in the same facilities as the rest of the men on the team. However, as Turing and Clarke used each other as leverage to get higher in their rankings, accomplishing more together than alone. The power of teamwork, everybody!

“Because I am a woman in a man’s job and I don’t have the luxury of being an ass.”

More meets the eye in “The Imitation Game”, a movie that goes beyond the topic of World War Two and shows the implications of gender and sexuality laws on regular people. A moving story that was phenomenally acted and written with detail and passion that leaked through the screen. Add this one to your list of war movies, because it is one of the greats.

Rating: 8.5/10

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About Samah Ali

Samah Ali

With a deep admiration for film, television, and music, Samah spends most of her free time expressing and sharing her love for the arts. Studying Creative Writing at Western University, she enjoys writing about film & music and shapes her passions with the latest movie or album available.

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