by: Junelly Gonzalez
“Sometimes it is the people no one imagines anything of who do the things that no one can imagine.” –Alan Turing
SPOILER ALERT-The Imitation Game starred actors Benedict Cumberbatch, who played Alan Turing and Keira Knightley, who played Joan Clarke. The film’s entire plot revolved around one strong message; however the beauty of this film was that it dropped subtle hints throughout the movie that encouraged the idea of that final main message, but didn’t dive into it until the end. I will come back to that message later, but this movie was also about World War II and the war heroes behind it. No, I am not talking about the soldiers (although I do not deny they are war heroes); rather I am referring to the man who cracked the Nazi’s Enigma Code: Alan Turing.
As you may know, WWII was a fight against the power of Adolf Hitler (Germany), Japan, and Benito Mussolini (Italy). Hitler was the most powerful leader, particularly because of his unbeatable communications machine, Enigma. However, Alan Turing, who was a brilliant computer scientists, philosopher and cryptologist, created a machine that countered the effects of Enigma and allowed for the messages to be decrypted. It took years for the machine to work, but when it finally did their new revelation had to stay top secret. Very interestingly, Britain kept Germany from figuring out they had figured out their Enigma code by using it selectively and leaking false sources of information to explain how they and their allies anticipated crucial Nazi invasions. Basically, it could only be used when Turing calculated which Nazi attacks should be prevented and which should be allowed. There was a powerful line in the movie that summed up how monumental this was for Britain. Alan Turing said, “Some people asked if I felt like God, but I would answer no. God did not win the war, I did.” Turing decided who lived and who died. Additionally, Turing’s machine shortened the war by 2 years and saved up to 14 million lives.
Now what is the main message underneath all of the history of the film? Well Turing was far from what is and was considered “normal” in society. The film emphasized his social awkwardness and his inability to pick up on social cues, jokes, metaphors, and illogical thinking. Not only that, but Turing was also homosexual which was a crime in Britain at the time. Turing was clearly a genius man, but lived his entire life alone because of people’s lack of compassion toward “different” people. His brilliance drowned in society’s judgments. However, Cumberbatch, with his masterpiece of a performance, finally cracked the code of compassion; compassion for all of those who have suffered due to the intolerance of homosexuality. Turing was prosecuted for homosexuality in 1952. He was forced to undergo chemical castration, and eventually decided he could no longer live in a world where he was afraid, in pain, and not accepted. Alan Turing committed suicide at the age of 41. All his work on the Turing machine lead to the invention of what we know today to be computers.