The Imitation Game Movie Review: Cracking an Enigma

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“Sometimes it is the people no one imagines anything of who do the things that no one can imagine,” states Alan Turing, as played by Benedict Cumberbatch, the British mathematician who cracked Hitler’s Enigma code and changed the course of World War II, possibly saving millions of lives.

The Enigma machine, created by the Nazis, sent encrypted messages to their allies. The Germans thought their code was unbreakable. So when the British created a team of highly skilled mathematicians and code breakers the challenge they had lies in the fact that the code was changed every day at midnight. All their work would be for nothing if they could not break the code before the clock struck twelve, states

What makes the movie suspenseful is waiting to see if Alan’s machine worked. After much trial and error, Turing and his team discovered that the Enigma coder used the same phrase in all of his messages, leading to a little crack in the system. A moment of triumph in the movie occurs when Turing’s team successfully cracked the code ; however they had to keep their accomplishment a secret, providing another sense of suspense and wonder in the movie.

Because mathematician Alan Turing broke the German Enigma code with his machine, the duration of the war was shortened dramatically as key messages were intercepted and strategies changed.

Even after Turing broke the code he wrote two papers that were proved to be so useful in code breaking that they were not released from the Government Communications Headquarters until 2012.

Alan Turing was born on June 23, 1912, and when he was younger people already noticed that he would have high intelligence. So at thirteen he went to Sherborne School he was very interested in science and math. This is also where Alan met his first love Christopher Morcom. Alan was indeed bullied but he found a friend in Christopher, but he died of tuberculosis in February of 1930.

Turing went to the University of Cambridge after Sherborne and studied there for 3 years; he later received his PhD from Princeton University and returned to Cambridge to later work for the government to break codes according to

Alan Turing was a homosexual in a time where homosexuality was illegal in England. When his house was robbed from the person he was with the night before he had to call the police. They found the person that robbed his house but he told the police that Turing was a homosexual. He was charged with gross indecency and was given the choice between probation while taking hormonal treatment for libido reduction or to go to prison. He chose the hormonal treatment but because of these charges Turing was stripped of his security clearance. He killed himself on June 7th, 1954 at 41 years old.

“I miss him…” Cumberbatch says on an interview with,” and its not just from playing him. I miss the fact that he’s not with us and should be with us. It’s a massive injustice, of course, but its also thinking about what he should have enjoyed of his life as well, and the amount of sadness in it.”