As World War One was remembered in centenary commemorations, Samantha Gillies takes a look at the story of Alan Turing.
This year marked the centenary Remembrance of World War One. I, therefore, found it especially appropriate to be sitting in cinema waiting for this film to start on a rainy November evening with (somewhat damp) anticipation for Cumberbatch’s newest project.
The subject of the film was Alan Turing, the first man to invent what we know today as the computer. The original Turing-machine was built to crack the German Enigma device, which had been thought to be impossible. The decoding ended up saving millions of lives and shortening the war by two years.
Though watching Mark Strong play a suave MI6 agent is always enjoyable, what captivated me was the blunt intelligence of Turing, portrayed by the ever-more-likeable Cumberbatch. Familiar to the social outcast, slightly out-of-sync genius role, Benedict did an excellent, moving job of bringing this true-story back to life.
As charming as Knightley is as the smart, sympathetic female protagonist, I found her to be lacking in delivery on more than one occasion; her performance was stiff and in some cases frankly unbelievable. This could be down to the somewhat clichéd writing – with unlikely lines pushed into the script to dramatize the events to Hollywood’s standards.
Turing’s sexuality was portrayed respectfully and in context with the times, having him ultimately shown to be charged for “gross indecency” and chemically castrated as reward for his heroic war efforts.
Overall, the film was heart wrenching and thought provoking, particularly due to the 100th anniversary of the First World War taking place this year. With mostly strong performances, it was a thoroughly watchable film that makes one truly appalled at both the war conditions and the treatment of LGBT people only fifty years ago.
A story of friendship, war and problem solving – definitely recommended.
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