Personal response #3 (Film)

The Imitation Game: Highly recommended

Director: Morten Tyldum
Category: Film

“Are you paying attention? Good. If you are not listening carefully, you will miss things. Important things. I will not pause, I will not repeat myself, and you will not interrupt me. You think that because you’re sitting where you are, and I am sitting where I am, that you are in control of what is about to happen. You’re mistaken. I am in control, because I know things that you do not know. What I will need from you now is a commitment. You will listen closely, and you will not judge me until I am finished. If you cannot commit to this, then please leave the room. But if you choose to stay, remember you chose to be here. What happens from this moment forward is not my responsibility. It’s yours. Pay attention.”

Movies affect people in many different ways. They can make you laugh or cry, they can make you understand things, or, they can make you see the world differently. It is not often you find a film that portrays its message from the perspectives of those that didn’t want to be recognized. We see war heroes as they were: valiant soldiers that gave too much up for our futures. We sit and watch as their horrific realities are played to us in HD, as the sounds of shrapnel and explosions fill the otherwise silent cinema rooms, as the characters on screen try to survive such horrific circumstances. Such contrast in realities often make it hard for the audience to understand and relate to the characters, which means much of the younger audience don’t understand how important the war was, and how sacrifical the soldiers really were. The Imitation Game is a movie in which the characters are ordinary people, with ordinary lives, from ordinary parts of the world. However, they created history. They were the war heroes no one knew, because the fired maths equations rather than bullets. The Imitation Game has characters that we can relate to even though it was based on times far before our ours, and this is possibly why it’s a good recommendation for year 12 students. They can have an understandable and relatable insight into what life was like for those that didn’t go to war, but still changed the world.

A main idea in this film is that it doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re from, you can make a difference. This is a very important lesson for young adults to learn as they are growing up, because it can greatly affect the choices they make later on in life. The way this film portrays its message is through its characters. Alan Turing, the main character, is a middle aged, homosexual mathematician who was rejected by society. He was misunderstood and had few friends. Throughout the film we see his character develop and grow, and we learn that “Sometimes it is the people who no one imagines anything of, who do the things that no one can imagine”. This quote was said by his fiancee Joan, and explains how no one expected anything of Alan. No expected him to do anything great, to make a difference, to do anything extraordinary. However, sometimes it’s the people everyone else just skips over that make the difference. I personally believe that this idea is very important because it’s so relatable to today’s society. Young adults today worry about not fitting in, worry about not being just like everybody else, and worry about never amounting up to anything more than a supermarket shelf stocker. This part of the film teaches us that you don’t need to be like everyone else to do great things. You can be yourself and still change the world. During the time that this movie was based on, homosexuality was an illegal crime, and could be punishable with prison or hormone treatment. Many people, like Alan, tried to hide this so the could carry out normal lives like everyone else. Homosexualty and being accepted is still a real problem in today’s society. Although we have moved forward with accepting and recognising these people, they still don’t have the equality that should be a right. This was a underlying idea in the movie, and is also important for young adults to see because it shows how gay rights should be far more advanced than they are, and how society is still mistreating human beings for being, well, human.

“Of course machines can’t think as people do. A machine is different from a person. Hence, they think differently. The interesting question is, just because something thinks differently from you, does that mean it’s not thinking? Well, we allow for humans to have such divergences from one another. You like strawberries, I hate ice-skating, you cry at sad films, I am allergic to pollen. What is the point of different tastes, different preferences, if not, to say that our brains work differently, that we think differently? And if we can say that about one another, then why can’t we say the same thing for brains built of copper and wire, steel?” Alan Turing believed that his “Turing machines” (later developed into digital computers) were just as able to think as the average human being. That just because it’s brain looked a little different, worked a little different, and thought a little different, didn’t mean it wasn’t thinking. He explained that all brains are different, see things differently, and have different perceptions on many different beliefs, so why can’t a digital brain? This prospect is very interesting, and proposed the question that if a mechanical brain couldn’t think, then was a thinking brain not mechanical? People believed that a mechanical brain was not thinking because it was unable to feel human emotions, it was unable to empathise, to act like everyone else. In the film, many people related Alan to a mechanical brain because he was willing to sacrifice far more than anyone else, just to try and crack a code. Once he’d cracked it, he was willing to sacrifice everyone else to make sure no one found out. His work colleagues didn’t think a human would be capable of that, and if he wasn’t human, he must be a machine. This part of the film taught me the importance of opinions and perspectives. The machine was able to crack the german codes, and allow the british to know exactly where the germans were, and where they were headed. Alan’s colleagues saw this as a way to save everyone in the firing line of the german, but Alan knew that they couldn’t do that. They had to let people die to make sure the germans didn’t know they’d cracked the code. His unemotional response to killing british soldiers is why people began to question his humanity, and therefore compare him to a machine. “Was I god? No. Because God didn’t win the war. We did.” This quote explains how during the war, they played God. They chose who lived and who died. They sent warnings to people, they ignored others. They defied moral authority. But, like they said, the real god didn’t win the war. The real god didn’t alter history and change who won. They did. The opinions and perspectives of people showed sides of war that haven’t previously been portrayed effectively in other war movies. This is another reason why I greatly enjoyed the film, and why it would be such a good recommendation to other people my age.

Alan was a very strange man. He saw things very differently from everyone else, which was a reason why watching his character in the movie was so interesting to see. We get used to being like everyone else, acting like everyone else, that seeing someone do the opposite shows just how different human beings can be from one another. Personally, Alan was one of my favourite characters in the film because he showed me that humans are still the same, even if we’re different. We can still see things and build things, and be ourselves, and having this difference is what sets you apart from everyone else. I also thought that this part of the film related well to society because many people worry that being different is wrong. “Now, if you wish you could have been normal… I can promise you I do not. The world is an infinitely better place precisely because you weren’t.” This is another quote said by Joan, telling Alan that his differences is what changed the world. That because he thought differently and saw things differently, he made the world different. Better. This is a very important lesson for young adults to learn. The film was about a very strange, and different man, who changed the world with his difference. However, it was the same world that changed him. He altered the history of the world. He saved more lives than any soldier could have, yet the world still looked down upon his difference, even when it was the very thing that saved it’s humanity. Alan didn’t want his difference. He wanted to be normal, and to be allowed to live like a normal person. Joan was one of the few characters who told him: No. The world is better because of you, you might want to be normal but normal doesn’t want to be you. Different does. And that’s okay. I thought that this part of the film was the most relatable because it teaches us that different is okay, and that different is what changes things, not normalicy.

The way this film was made is possibly one of the reasons it had such a big impact on my view of the world. War films are normally very sad, depressing and filled with death and darkness. The war heroes are portrayed as innocent boys forced to grow up to be killers, and if they didn’t kill, they would get killed. They make the characters almost unrelatable because of the things they’re put through, and as as result, many people struggle to relate to them because the setting of the film is such a contrast to their own. This film is different. It’s not just a story of war and death. It’s not another depressing, action packed, murderous film, nor is it a scientific documentary on the technological advancements war created. No. It’s a story about a boy, who grows up to be more than anyone could have imagined. It’s a love story. It’s a thriller. It’s a comedy. A main idea that runs throughout the movie is this perception of the world where anything is possible. A few men built a supercomputer to crack a code thought to be impossible. There are few lessons more important to teach young adults than the idea that anything is possible, and therefore makes this film such a good recommendation. The plot is filled with unexpected surprises and life changing decisions – not only for the characters, but also for us. The storyline was deep and imaginative, and so were the characters. They were portrayed in such an ordinary way, that it’s easy to relate to them, to understand what they did, even on a basic level, and therefore understand what historic roles they played. They’re the war heroes that make sense. The war heroes that saved more lives than any soldiers, and probably killed more too, just from a room in small town England. Throughout the film, you slowly develop a much better understanding of the characters, and how the roles they played changed the world for good. This film was loosely based on a true story, and therefore students in year 12 would both immensely enjoy the film, and learn many historical things from it.
“Now, Detective, you get to judge. That’s how the game works. I answered your questions. You know my story. That’s the point of the game. We are all pretending to be something. Imitating something. Someone. And we are no more, and no less, than what we can convince other people that we are. I like solving problems, Commander. And enigma is the most difficult problem in the world. So tell me: What am I? Am I a person? Am I a machine? Am I a war hero? Or, am I a criminal?”

By Dharma Bratley

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