Masterpiece. Should have won more Oscars.
I honestly cannot believe this is based on a true story.
Director: Morten Tyldum
Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode
This movie pissed me off, and it’s not because it sucked. If anything, it was the opposite. It just made me hate the world even more.
Alan Turing. Never could I imagine such a sad life for such a great man. Movies like these would have made me fall asleep when I was younger, but my eyes couldn’t turn away from the screen during these two hours. It reminded me too much of real life.
Graham Moore is right. Stay weird, because one day you will achieve great things and everyone will bow down to you because you have just saved their lives.
1. “We are violent because it feels good.” Let me start off with this: the story and script is EXTREMELY well-written. And Moore definitely deserved this Oscar, because not only were the time changes separate and distinct, but they were timed perfectly to create that emotional impact. Turing’s creation of the world’s first computer took place during World War II in attempt to break enigma. I’ll talk more about this in the next point. But, you know that weird science kid you had in the back of your classroom, isolated and always doing something…different? I definitely have one of those, right now, and it made me question what I had been doing for the past few years.
Turing was that kid. Always beat up in school, and continued to be accused of stuff when he’s older. And it was because he was different. He tells us that people are violent because it makes them feel good, which is synonymous to the World War that occurs during that time.
We all want to have some sort of power in our lives because it makes us feel like we have control in something (don’t even try to deny that). And making someone else feel inferior is how we do so. To that kid that everyone bullied in middle and high school, I am sincerely sorry. There are cruel people out there and you try to fit in as much as possible, I know. But you just can’t because you don’t understand how society works or how to socialize. That’s not bad. As a matter of fact, that abnormal thinking may just save us all one day.
2. Being abnormal can save the world. Turing lived through one of the toughest times in England. Not only was he an isolated, weird kid, but he had this confidence about him that made him stick by his beliefs and inventions. During World War II, he was hired to break enigma, but his team was doing it manually. However, he came up with this brilliant idea to create a super computer, to have a machine do it all at once. Nobody believed in him, and, as a matter of fact, so many people tried to get him fired or hanged.
Even though it took, what seemed like, forever to make this computer work, he was able to break German codes to figure out their strategies 10 times faster than a man could do by himself. Along the way, he had some help figuring out how to socialize, even though it was blatantly awkward, so he could have some help building it. He learned how to work with a team, and it paid off in the end.
When he first got into code-breaking, he sort of related it to how humans think, which was a very abnormal perspective: when people say things, why do we just assume what they’re thinking? When someone tells you they’re going to lunch, why should you think that they’re inviting you, as well?
Theories say that the war would have been two years longer if it weren’t for Turing’s computer. He saved lives. He preserved cities that wouldn’t even be here, today.
But it also takes the man with the most secrets to be able to break them all.
3. “Secrets are better if we didn’t know them.” It wasn’t Turing’s secrets that tore him apart, but rather the fact that he had to keep them that way. He had to keep the computer a secret so the Germans wouldn’t find out that they had broken enigma. Turing couldn’t even tell the British until it was safe enough to strategically plan how they were going to win World War II. Because of the high surveillance during that time period, Turing ended up sneaking out a lot of information out of the labs in order to try to break them with his partner, Joan.
And that’s the other thing. He proposes to Joan to make her stay, and maybe to cover up the fact that he’s homosexual, which was illegal in Britain. There were some people who knew he was gay and took advantage of him with that knowledge. He ended up working with Soviet spies for a bit because one of them would turn him in if he reported the Soviets to the British navy. He even names his computer Christopher after the one boy he loved when he was a child, who introduced him to code-breaking. With this machine, he forms a sort of love attachment, being synonymous to his relationship with Christopher. He doesn’t want to be left alone, which is why he never leaves this machine.
At the end, they find out that he’s gay and they put him on two years of hormonal medication where they chemically castrate him to be…straight. I had SO many problems with this, and when I bitched about it to my friend, she just blatantly told me, “That’s the inevitable truth.” And that made me want to cry even more. It was the clash between today’s beliefs and traditional beliefs where it is no longer acceptable to do things like that. You can’t make someone straight or gay. It’s part of who they are, and nobody should try to change that. I have no idea why that was even illegal during that time, but whatever. That’s the inevitable truth.
4. Utilitarianism. Not a very huge theme, but definitely one worth confronting. If you don’t know what utilitarianism is, it is the idea that we sacrifice a small amount of people for the greater good of everyone else. This was the whole idea behind breaking enigma and the use of the machine. For instance, there was this one guy on the team who had a brother in one of the British boats that they predicted the Germans would hit. However, Turing said that his brother was going to have die along with a whole city of innocent civilians, because if they attacked the Germans first, the Germans would change their codes immediately and the British wouldn’t be able to save any more lives. Start back from scratch.
It makes you hate people, really. As mathematicians, we need to take the most logical path, the one that will save the biggest number of lives. But, as humans, it hurts to see people die, even if it’s just a few. Especially if we’re close to them. Or especially if we are them. Nobody wants to be that small sacrifice unless we are noble enough to risk our lives for everyone around us, not just our family and friends. This is why I respect the military so much: it’s filled with all these people who are giving up their lives for both you and me. For all of us. And what do we pay back in return? Maybe it’s just respect, but I wish it was a lot more than that.
5. The Imitation Game. Name of the movie. So you might as well understand what the Imitation Game is.
Here is the game. Say it’s me and a computer. In order to play the game, I ask the computer a series of questions and it must answer. Based off its answers, I must guess if it is a human or a machine. If I guess it is a human, then the computer has passed the Turing test, passing as artificial intelligence and capturing emotion just like a human can. Thinking like a human can think.
That’s sort of scary to think where technology may end up one day. Computers now are being developed to be able to pass the Turing test, and, eventually, they may all pass it. That’s the point where computers may be able to think more than we can. Right now, they don’t have brains: they’re as smart as the programmers and inventors that created them. But it might happen.
And the imitation game will be something we will all be playing one day.