Posted in books, films & DVD

The Imitation Game

I would like to watch The Imitation Game which has recently come out on DVD. This historical thriller is directed by Morten Tyldum, with a screenplay by Graham Moore and is loosely based on the biography Alan Turing: The Enigma by Andrew Hodges.

It starts with the young Turing unhappy and bullied at boarding school, who becomes friends with Christopher Morcom, who sparks his interest in cryptography, and Turing develops romantic feelings for him. Sadly Before Turing can confess his love, Christopher dies unexpectedly from tuberculosis. Later When Britain declares war on Germany in 1939, Turing is recruited byBritish intelligence agency MI6 and travels to the top secret code-breaking centre at Bletchley Park, where, under he joins the cryptography team lead by Commander Alastair Denniston, which includes Hugh Alexander, John Cairncross, Peter Hilton, Keith Furman and Charles Richards, who are trying to decrypt the Enigma machine, which the Nazis use to send coded messages.

Turing is difficult to work with, and considers his colleagues inferior; he designs a machine to decipher Enigma. However Denniston refuses to fund construction of the machine, so Turing writes to Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who puts Turing in charge of the team and funds the machine. Turing fires Furman and Richards and places a difficult crossword in newspapers to find replacements. Joan Clarke, a Cambridge graduate, surpasses Turing’s test but her parents will not allow her to work with the male cryptographers. Turing arranges for her to live and work with the female clerks who intercept the messages, and shares his plans with her.

Turing’s machine, which he names Christopher, is constructed, but cannot determine the Enigma settings before the Germans reset the Enigma encryption each day. Denniston orders it destroyed and Turing fired, but the other cryptographers threaten to leave if Turing goes. After Clarke plans to leave on the wishes of her parents, Turing proposes marriage, which she accepts. During their reception, Turing confirms his homosexuality to Cairncross, who warns him to keep it secret. After overhearing a conversation with a female clerk about messages she receives, Turing has an epiphany, realizing he can program the machine to decode words he already knows exist in certain messages. After he recalibrates the machine, it quickly decodes a message

Turing discovers that Cairncross is a Soviet spy. When Turing confronts him, Cairncross argues that the Soviets are allies working for the same goals, and threatens to retaliate by disclosing Turing’s homosexuality if his role as an agent is revealed. When the MI6 agent Stewart Menzies appears to threaten Clarke, Turing reveals that Cairncross is a spy. Menzies reveals he knew this already, and planted Cairncross among them in order to leak messages to the Soviets for British benefit. Fearing for her safety, Turing tells Clarke to leave Bletchley Park, revealing that he is gay and lying about never having cared for her. After the war, Menzies tells the cryptographers to destroy their work and that they can never see one another again or share what they have done.

Despite Turing’s significant achievements during the Second World War In the 1950s He iencounters disgrace when he is convicted of indecency, (homosexuality was considered a crime in 1950’s Britain) and, in lieu of a jail sentence, undergoes chemical castration so he can continue his work. Later Clarke visits him in his home and witnesses Turing’s physical and mental deterioration since the trial.

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