Main Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Alex Lawther, Matthew Goode, Rory Kinnear, Allen Leech, Matthew Beard, Charles Dance, Mark Strong, James Northcote, Tom Goodman-Hill, Steven Waddington, Jack Tarlton, Jack Bannon
Review: 9.2 out of 10 stars.
This is more of a biography of Alan Turing. It’s the story of his life, built and presented intertwined his childhood and adulthood. When something happened in his adulthood, it traced back to his childhood scenes, explaining where it all came from.
While Turing is an amazing British mathematician to study, observe, admire and respect, and his code-breaking skills, the movie took a heavier emphasis on his relationship to his colleague and love interest, Joan Clarke, and with an even heavier shadow storytelling of his personal and inner struggles.
While it’s categorized as a thriller and mystery, it’s probably more fitted to drama and almost romance, and women movement.
If you go watch this movie without knowing the actual life of Turing, you would be in a few surprises in the beginning but the acting, directing and writing were so great that it’s not trying to shock the audience, but to instrumentally bring the audience to light at the time of war and many layers of inequality.
Cumberbatch is an excellent actor, quickly warmed up the audience even he was such an eccentric and nerdy, private person. Everyone grew to like and then love, taking his side of his emotions and likeness. Why? Because his life reasoned with logic and not argued with emotions. But while on the outside, Turing was such an articulate person (and Cumberbatch made it extremely believable), inside he had all the turmoils that he had to deal with. The directing was excellent, using a lot of close-up almost-still scenes of Cumberbatch as he changed his emotions faltered in his more vulnerable moments.
Keira Knightley acted as a smart woman in the movie and did not just show off with her face and flashed off her signature smiles and white teeth. Her role was important in the movie, while may not have been as much in reality. Fortunately she did not totally overwhelm other characters.
This movie is really not about how to break codes during the war, nor is it about Turing being the influence of today’s computer that we are now all sharing information and thoughts, it is about how the past had so much restriction on our preferences, and how one man thought he could live on his own, to open up himself, to being shot down again by the society and totally defeated towards the end. There were personal triumphs, but it took decades to truly achieve where we are today as human beings.
Keywords: drama, thriller, mathematician, logician, romance, historical, war, moviereview
— Spoiler Ahead —
The movie spent enough time to sprinkle inequality of women, how men viewed women as secondary workers, only assisted, and can never achieve more complex fields such as mathematics. It was said that while Joan Clarke indeed was one of the great mathematicians, she was not paid equally comparing with men of the same field.
Another huge inequality is homosexuality. It’s a sensitive subject, still today, that not everywhere takes it equally. Turing being gay and his close friendship was shown extensively in the movie, yielding to his falling in love with his classmate. The romanticized name of the code-breaking machine Christopher is actually Bombe. It’s a bit of a stretch to create a much bigger love obsession than being an inspiration to be a great mathematician. The same goes to when he was asked to go to the headmaster’s office just to be told his secret crush had died. The young Turing (Alex Lawsther) had played an amazing role with just as intense close-up scenes. Yes, it’s also a stretch to intensify Cumberbatch’s life in the movie, but it worked for the audience, drawing silence, sweetness and sadness towards Turing.
The ending was very sad, as Turing ended up having to take the judge’s order, the medication, to defeat his homosexuality, a movement that today’s society is still trying to fight. Cumberbatch had given his all to tell the final moments of Turing’s life, suffering between lies and his true love, and what is to live if one can no longer imagine? Note that though, the theory was he might not have committed suicide and might have accidentally been gotten poisoning.
Facts and movie comparison: