Lauren O'Hagan: 19/12/16
What made the Imitation Game so captivating?
Was it the strong characterisation of those who helped defend this nation and helped bring the allied troops to victory during the second world war? Despite having already seen leading actors, Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley in previous films, they truly lost themselves in their characters. For 114 minutes, one forgot the names of the actors on screen. For 114 minutes, one thought they were watching Alan Turing and Joan Clarke at work. For 114 minutes, one felt that they really had been transported to Bletchley Park in 1939.
Despite the accusations of inaccuracies within the film, where there was controversy for the portrayal of Turing’s homosexuality and the historical context of the film being lost, I do not think that prevents one from appreciating how important it was, how impressive, how sad it was.
The sadness of Turing’s life adds meaning to the film, struggling for acceptance during his earlier years, forced to hide his homosexuality, and being forced to choose chemical castration over imprisonment, simply to be able to continue his work. Turing, who did so much to defend our nation, was still unaccepted and punished by British law, by people who might not even be alive if it wasn’t for the mathematicians, scientists and logicians at Bletchley Park, such as Alan Turing. The injustice of Turing’s conviction for something that was not within his control, sticks with the audience, far longer after the film has ended.
The sadness of Turing’s life is further emphasised but the fact that Turing’s achievements were kept secret from the general public for so many years, showing the lack of appreciation for what he did and how he got nothing in return. Turing understood that once he cracked Enigma, he couldn’t help save all lives as the Germans would simply reset the code. Therefore, helping to make difficult decisions of who lived and who died could not have been easy for him and the others concerned.
The film is beautifully sad and the set, soundtrack and costume all fit the story so well.