Based on the real life story of legendary cryptanalyst Alan Turing, the film portrays the nail-biting race against time by Turing and his brilliant team of code-breakers at Britain’s top-secret Government Code and Cypher School at Bletchley Park, during the darkest days of World War II.
Genre : Biography/Drama/War
Country : UK/USA
Benedict Cumberbatch : Alan Turing
Keira Knightley : Joan Clarke
Matthew Goode : Hugh Alexander
Director : Morten Tyldum
“Cryptography is the science of codes. Like secret messages?
Not secret. That’s the brilliant part. Messages that anyone can see, but no one knows what they mean, unless you have the key.
How is that different from talking?
When people talk to each other they never say what they mean. They say something else. And you’re supposed to just know what they mean. Only, I never do. So how is that different?
Alan, I have a funny feeling that you’re going to be very good at this.”
Looking back, the above-mentioned conversation between Alan Turing and his school friend Christopher Morcom, is for me the perfect summary of the fascinating life of the intellectual mathematician Turing. The phenomenon he faced throughout his whole life had to do with “decoding”. From an early age, Alan had trouble dealing with his fellow men. It was for him in a way a kind of cryptogram how to act and react towards his fellow men. A brilliant mind who simply couldn’t grasp simple human interactions. At a later stage he was the one who designed a forerunner of the current computer and who formed the basis of the principles of artificial intelligence, in order to crack the infamous Enigma cipher, which was used by the Germans during WWII and which combination changed every 24 hours. An almost impossible task to do for a human being. But thanks to the pioneering work of Polish scientists in this area it was made possible by him, by building one of the first self-correcting computers “The Bombe”. Ultimately this would drastically change the course of WWII and shorten this dreadful period with 2 to 4 years. So millions of lives were spared in that way.
No doubt about it. This was one of the most interesting films of the last year with some masterful acting. Not only by Cumberbatch (and I put my money on him when it’s about the Oscar), but also by Keira Knightley, who I usually dislike when she uses her exaggerated expressive smile again. Also the result of cracking the code and the taken subsequent actions, gave the story an extra dimension. There were some historical inaccuracies though : The machine never got the name “Christopher” (this was purely for increasing the drama content of the film), the impression one gets as if Turing was the initial designer and the fact that he wrote a letter to Churchill on his own. But despite these trivialities, this was a successful tribute to a war hero. Unfortunately you can’t prove this but I’m sure that without the commitment of this person, my vernacular probably would be German.