I had the privilege of seeing 'The Imitation Game' last night at the Sloan Film Festival which supports films about science and technology. 'The Imitation Game' was everything and more that I could hope it would be. The heart wrenching story of Alan Turing was perfectly encapsulated in the nearly two hour film. For those of you who don't know the back story of Turing, here's a recap. Turing made monumental contributions to science and technology by creating a machine that broke the enigma code of the Nazis. This machine is the basis for every computer today, so when you're on your iPhone/android today, you can thank Turing for that. Not only was this a tech/science accomplishment, it also helped save lives of countless people and end the second world war.
The film did an excellent job at breaking down the science for those of us who are less savvy with algorithms and computations than Turing. As Cumberbatch said in a recent interview, the film didn't ask you to like Turing, it asked you to accept him. Flashing back and forth between his childhood and years breaking the code, it gave you a well rounded impression of the man he was. It is a celebration of the man and his accomplishments, instead of the tragedy it would later become. Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley (see my previous post on her) were perfect casting for Turing and his crossword savvy partner Joan Clarke. Although the Clarke character changed quite a bit from the real woman, it was still a fantastic character who did more than bat her eyelashes. Cumberbatch, as we have come to expect, completely envelops himself in Turing and delivers a heart breaking performance.
What really stood out for me, was that Turing was no super hero, no man with a gun, nor a man with much charm at all, however he had an incredible mind. In today's world we've come to expect computers to do all the hard work, back in the 1940s there was no such luxury. Turing was brilliant enough to come up with a machine to think faster and harder than even he could. Cumberbatch's Turning even loving names the computer Christopher and speaks of it as if it were his child. Turing is undeniably the father of the modern day computer. Though he may not have had any children of his own, he gifted 'his' child to the world.
To steal a quote from the film, "Sometimes it is the people no one imagines anything of who do the things that no one can imagine." We can only appreciate that we are so lucky that Turing did imagine greater than most of us can ever hope to.