The Imitation Game shows an unorthodox face to heroism that’s far removed from the Captain America portrayals of World War Two audiences are used to. Alan Turing (played by Benedict Cumberbatch) is a British mathematician, a homosexual, and eventually the father of Computer Science. He never sees combat, but his contributions to the war effort are considered a decisive factor in the Allied victory, shortening the conflict by years. By breaking the Nazi Enigma Code, Turing and his team unlocked the crucial military intelligence going back and forth in radio transmissions across Europe — where the Germans would attack and when. Empowered with this information, the Allies were able to steer their actions accordingly and gain a critical edge as the fighting progressed. Winston Churchill would later tell the King of England it’s because of this work that they won the war.
Apart from the conflict though, the film focuses on different points in Turing’s life: when he was bullied as a student and during his prosecution for homosexuality that led to his suicide in 1954. The most interesting discussion in the film comes just before his death and it concerns his desire to be normal and ultimately how Turing’s uniqueness has been such a benefit to mankind: the Allied victory, the development of computers.
But as a victim of prejudice, decades would pass before the truth about Turing’s actions came to light. This culminated in a royal pardon from Queen Elizabeth in 2013 and to the making of the film itself, which is all the more reason to watch. The acknowledgement in The Imitation Game has been a long time coming.