The Imitation Game is the real thing

The Imitation Game, a movie that is based on the autobiography of British mathematician, computer scientist, cryptanalyst, and logician Alan Turing, depicts his years working for the military to decipher the famous German cipher system, the Enigma, as well as his later life when he becomes a criminal because of his homosexuality and dies in misery.

The 114-minute movie starts with soliloquy: “Are you paying attention? Good. If you’re not listening carefully, you will miss things.” And I did.

Turing is one of the greatest genius, if not the greatest, in his time. He almost singlehandedly created the deciphering machine, which he named Christopher, the same name as his dead lover, to crack the Enigma that was regarded as unbreakable. He thus helped the British army, the Allies, defeat Hitler. His achievement is stunning.

His glorious, legendary experience, however, did not protect him as the court tried him for indecency. Homosexual acts were criminal in the United Kingdom at that time. Not wanting to be in prison, Turing chose hormone treatment, a chemical castration.

The U.K. won the war, but it lost the humanity battle.

One night after he has taken hormone pills, he turns the lights off and stumbles towards Christopher in darkness. It is his memory, his intelligence, his most valuable thing. The next scene is Turing starting a big fire with his co-workers to burn all the papers that document their deciphering work, which was the top secret in the government. Everything becomes ashes. The soliloquy starts again that informs us that, about a year later after his hormone treatment, Turing died in his house because of cyanide poisoning; he might have committed suicide. And then the movie ends with a smile on Turing’s face.

The ending is controlled and soft. I love it.

Image credits: The Imitation Game official website, and Internet Movie Database (IMDB).

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