The Imitation Game | Kilburnlad | Film | Reviews

The Imitation Game

We saw The Imitation Game on Wednesday. The staff at the cinema had told us that it was very popular, and other reviews have been good. And it was good. Benedict Cumberbatch is carving out quite a niche for himself for playing intriguing characters, which started I suppose with Sherlock Holmes in the TV series.

Turing was a very interesting man. To what extent Cumberbatch's portrayal matches the reality is speculative, but I think he gives a convincing performance of what we think Turing was like. The main story is a matter of record, although I believe that there were earlier contributions from Polish cryptologists that haven't been acknowledged. And I'm not sure that the sub-plots had a lot of basis in fact. But without these embellishments we presumably would have a documentary rather than a popular film.

Coincidently I'm reading a book at the moment that considers the limits of science (more on this in a later blog post) and even more coincidently I'm at the chapter on computing, which starts with the 'Turing machine'. This isn't the Bletchley Park 'computer', but a hypothetical device invented by Turing in 1936. No doubt it underpinned his work at Bletchley. Anyway, the aforementioned book has been really heavy going mathematically, and I've a feeling that the section on computing isn't going to be any easier. He and the other codebreakers were truly exceptional, thinking in a way that for most of us would be unfathomable.

It's a good film and well worth seeing. The fact that Turing was treated as he was, after what he had achieved, was a disgrace.

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