The Alan Turing biopic is in its last week at the box office in Fort Collins, just in time for the Oscars.
Cumberbatch plays Turing, the man who solved the German’s Enigma code, helped propel the Allied forces to victory in WWII and layed the groundwork for the digital age we live in today. While that resumé is impressive enough, the man behind it and his personal story is much more compelling. Turing was a gay man living in a time when such “behavior” was considered filthy and illegal.
Turing’s incredibly important work was halted by his own country when he was found to be gay. Unable to continue his research because of the hormones prescribed to “fix” him, he committed suicide June 7, 1954.
The film is about Turing’s involvement in WWII and the events leading up to his death. It is brilliantly told in a non-linear form, switching back and forth from Turing’s childhood, his time working for the British military and the present time when he is being persecuted for his homosexuality.
Just the title of the film ties everything together. The Imitation Game is a hypothetical test conceived by Turing which could conceivably allow a person to determine whether a machine could accurately mimic human thought.
Of course, machines are not the only ones imitating in this story, where Turing is imitating a heterosexual man and Keira Knightley‘s character, Joan Clarke, is essentially imitating what was thought to be a man’s role.
The performances are the most notable aspects of the film. Specifically, Cumberbatch gave the best performance of his life thus far, nailing the role of a troubled genius without any notion of social norms.
The film is funny, sad and inspiring, and brings a welcome addition to the war genre. Whereas most of the time we are presented with heroes in the field, “The Imitation Game” gives a rare glimpse of the people behind the scenes of the war.
By the time the credits rolled on Christmas Day, I wanted to cry for all the people who were persecuted by their own government for being themselves, and especially for Turing, who’s monumental contributions to the world didn’t mean anything once the world he saved condemned him for his sexual orientation.
The film has eight nominations at the Academy Awards, and they are all well-deserved. The prop for Turing’s de-coding machine alone deserves a nomination.
But at this point, “The Imitation Game” might be the only nominee for Best Picture that won’t win anything. Luckily, the number of Oscar statues doesn’t determine the worth of a film. “The Imitation Game” will be remembered for a long time by the people who see it, and its message especially.
And that is what’s important.
Collegian A&E Film Beat Writer Morgan Smith can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @MDSFilms.