MESSAGE IN THE MOVIES
Directed by Morten Tyldum. Starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley.
As Great Britain struggled against Germany in The Second World War and its citizens steeled themselves for the next bombing raid on London, there were a group of mathematicians and engineers trying to decipher the code that the Germans were using to communicate on land and sea. This code was nicknamed “Enigma” and it presented a real challenge, for built into the code were ever-changing patterns of letter substitution. It was considered unbreakable.
That is, until Alan Turing (Cumberbatch) and his team of code breakers designed a “universal machine” that would help them solve the problem of permutation. First of all, Turing would have to gain the respect of the persons under his authority. This would prove to be a challenge because Turing lacked modesty about his gifts as well as basic social skills. We now live in an age that recognizes genius and borderline autism as brothers in arm (“The Big Bang Theory”), but such was not the case back in the 1940s. Fortunately, Turing gains support and encouragement from Joan Clarke (Knightley), the sole woman on the team, who not only understands his genius but struggles with her own acceptance as an equal partner.
The Imitation Game is a highly entertaining film that celebrates intelligence and uniqueness as well as the resistance and skepticism that comes from a world that is not quite ready to look at things in a new way. We forget sometimes how much following Jesus Christ demands that we look at life differently. Jesus knew this very well: “Many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.” (Luke 10:24 NRSV)
The film includes postwar scenes, in which Turing is suspected of being a spy, as well as flashbacks to childhood in which Turing is persecuted by his classmates for being different. The film’s title not only conveys the pursuit of breaking the Enigma code, but also the ways in which people find acceptance only when they pretend to be something other than their true selves.
It is believed that the efforts of Turing and his group of scientists not only helped the Allies win World War II two years sooner, but also ushered in the computer age as well as the concept of artificial intelligence. While Benedict Cumberbatch is great as Turing, the film’s heart is found in Keira Knightley’s Joan Clarke, who finds a way to love a person who is unable to demonstrate such affection in return. This is the love of God in action.
The Imitation Game is that rare movie that deals with serious topics with good taste and restraint. It is a smart and compassionate film and one of the year’s best.
Four halos: A film that celebrates creativity and genius as well as friendship and grace.
Two pitchforks: Some scenes of emotional abuse as well as persecution and misunderstanding.
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Rev. Bruce Batchelor-Glader
COMMENTS! Do you have comments about this movie or movie review?
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