Two years before Benedict Cumberbatch was Doctor Strange, he was Alan Turing, a witty yet socially awkward mathematician. Turing is self-proclaimed the best mathematician on earth and it becomes his mission to crack the Nazi encryption machine, Enigma.
Based on a true story and set in the early 1940’s, when the war was just underway for England, it is Turing’s responsibility to organize a team of linguists and mathematicians ingenious enough to crack the most advanced encryption machine known to man. Enigma is the primary machine used by the Nazi Germany to code secret intelligence. According to England intelligence, cracking the code is the best chance England has at defeating Germany and ending the war.
However, as Turing points out, the war isn’t really against Germany, it is against time. As each precious month passes by, England gains more casualties and famine becomes a growing concern. The conflict of the story doesn’t strictly revolve around the struggle to break Enigma in time though. Instead, we find Turing constantly harassed by those around him, who see Turing as an outcast and doubt his ability to succeed in this mission.
To find success, Turing ends up partnering with an unlikely compadre, Joan Clark, who he must meet with in secret to gain assistance in the attempt to crack Enigma. The dynamic duo begins to make the seemingly impossible mission appear imaginable. As Turing claims, “It is the people, who no one imagines anything of, who do the things that no one can imagine.”
The storyline of the film is played out with flashbacks into Turing’s complicated childhood, as well as many obscure scenes of Turing’s future, where he is being investigated about an accusation that is unbeknownst to the audience. These glimpses into Turing’s past and future end up being essential in making sense of the plot.
Throughout the story we are presented with themes about the persecution of homosexuals by England’s Whitehall, the struggle for women’s rights, and a riveting and dynamic conflict. One could say that the film is riddled with enduring moments of optimism and triumph, as well as moments of strain and catastrophe.
So, despite the huge victory that is inevitably to come for England, not all the cast can be expected to find their ever after. If I may say, this film is a real tear-jerker.
In the end, I found The Imitation Game to be utterly gripping and both thought-provoking. It is also comparable to Inception, Fight Club, or The Prodigy, in the sense that you are going to have to pay attention to every nonsequential scene and iota of dialogue. There is not a wasted scene in this movie.