Okay. This is number two of three posts. It became three, because it was going to be too long to do a review and reflection in the one post. So.
The Imitation Game.
I watched this - now over a week ago - with some pretty high expectations, I must admit. I am a bit of a Cumberbatch fan, and I also love the story of Alan Turing and the Enigma machine (which, if you didn't know, is what the movie is about). So again, somewhat biased. My expectations were surpassed, regardless.
For those who haven't seen the movie, I will quickly summarise. Alan Turing is a maths whiz, who approaches the army with the idea of trying to solve Enigma - because it's the greatest puzzle, and he loves puzzles. He gets put on as part of a team, but really works by himself on his own idea instead; the others are working to try and decode the bits that they intercept, while he's working on a machine to translate everything. He goes to the head of the unit, saying that he needs 100,000 pounds to build his machine. He says no, so Alan sends a letter to Churchill; who gives him the money, and puts him in charge of the unit. He puts out a test to get new people in, and hires Joan, who is a graduate from Cambridge. They put in a lot of work, and make the machine happen, through a bunch of things working out nicely, essentially. With the help of the machine and MI6, they provide certain pieces of information to the Allies to help them win the war, but not let the Germans know they've cracked Enigma. Following this, all the records are destroyed, they go their separate ways, and told never to speak of this again. Many years later, a police investigation into Alan reveals that he is paying men to have sex with him. He is convicted of indecency, and chooses to undergo chemical castration instead of going to prison. He commits suicide.
There's a lot of subtlety in this movie. The basic idea - that Turing builds a machine to crack Enigma - is very simple. But this movie isn't about the machine; it's about Alan Turing. And as such, it follows his story, and how he develops and changes over time - and jumps into his backstory at points, going back to his time at school. In effect, the whole story is being told during an interrogation of Turing by a policeman much later in his life; so it has particular elements peculiar to that style. But the story is done very well. The historical nuances are done very well; talking about issues of homosexuality, gender bias, politics, social issues and the like - this movie is quite a complex tapestry that is woven through Alan's life. Alan Turing is certainly portrayed as being on the Autism Spectrum, which you will pick up if you're familiar with Asperger's or Autism. This, along with some other aspects of the film, have been criticised by some; (look here for a good example) and, not having read the proper biography myself, I can't comment on this. However, it's not surprising that Hollywood will dramatise the story a bit, and accentuate the Aspie-ness a little; it is a Spectrum, so it's quite possible that he could have been not as pronounced as the movie suggests, yet still on the Spectrum.
I thought that this was an incredible movie, and all of the aspects were done very well. One thing that I particularly loved was the ending. Because it didn't end with his suicide; in fact, his suicide is not shown on-screen. Instead, it ends with the group of them celebrating the end of the war, around a fire, throwing all their documents in. It finishes on joy and celebration of Alan's life, not mourning his death. And I think that was a good choice, and very well done. Definitely recommend this movie to anyone - but be aware that it is very much a feelings movie. So not if you're wanting a fun movie to just laugh and such. But very good.