Having no job has its perks. Yes, you don’t have money to go out and watch movies but you use your home supplies to make some fries and enjoy countless movies spread out for you to explore on the internet. I chose a movie that many have looked down upon me for not watching: The Imitation Game, to see what the fuss is about. Now being a person who steered clear from any contact with science and who can’t even cross multiply properly, the movie definitely didn’t have the educational charm for me. Yet, I gave in for the love of Benedict Cumberbatch, illegally downloaded a torrent and began to enjoy the guilt of my crime with some fries and ketchup!
The movie had many brilliant performances and an outstanding cinematography (tried to use big words to show that I understand the art of movie making) but what struck me the most was not Alan Turing’s achievement (the male protagonist our movie is based on) or the amazing aesthetics of the director. It was a sentence that came once the movie had ended and they starting giving out facts to leave an impact on people and also because the movie had already stretched to its due time. The line that broke me was “it was a government-held secret for 50years”… 50 YEARS! Let that sink in.
Once I read this statement, it took me a while to get a hold of myself and I spent the later hours of the night reading about this great man. The time I allotted to reading about him left me overwhelmed and angry. Here is the reason why: Alan Turing was a man who became a victim to his own achievements and brilliance. He shortened the World War II by almost 2 years and played a key role to minimize causalities (in millions), with MATHS! He broke an impossible German Military Code (Enigma), and invented an electromagnetic device called Bombe which cracked German ciphers. He was the man that we have to thank for our computers because his invention, The Turning Machine was the conceptual precursor that later became the foundation to computers! He was the genius who suggested that machines could “think” which we call artificial intelligence today.
To keep it simple and precise he saved lives and improved technologies that he didn’t live to see. A man who should have been glorified and marveled in his time and the times to come was a target of bigotry and harassment throughout his life and spent the last years of his existence on medications to “cure him of homosexuality”. An investigation led to his arrest for having a homosexual relationship which was criminal at that time. He was given the choice between imprisonment or a treatment for his sexual orientation. He was barred from the government code-breaking work amongst other disgraces. The “treatment” which was a form of chemical castration, left him with many side effects including being impotent and gynecomastia (look it up)!
Alan Mathison Turing committed suicide at the age of 42. At an age still younger than the years that his brilliant work was hidden from the world which was 50years, in case that slipped your mind. To the people of his time, and to the people alive for the next 50 years, he was just a disgraceful professor with no achievements except for some papers he published at the beginning years of his career and who later went rogue.
The movie that left us with a bitter-sweet feeling fed us the glamorized version of his life. They romanticized the process to bring in the appeal for the audience, which is a shame. Like most of the biopic, it didn’t touch upon the appalling realities. To feel worthless in the eyes of people in spite of being the reason they live and later to be charged with “gross indecency” is not a bittersweet emotion at all. It’s a horrendous feeling that if exposed, would bring out the dark side of Governments and Systems. And how about charging the Government for Gross Indecency to lead a man to kill himself and hide his magnificent work from the world for more than 50 years! In 2009 Prime Minister Gordon Brown released an apologetic statement and in 2013 his name was cleared of the “supposed crime” he was convicted for in 1952!
Now that is the reality of the movie, and the life of Alan Turing; the man who has been credited as the single biggest contribution to Allied victory in the war against Nazi Germany by none other than Winston Churchill himself. It’s a tragedy and a tale of murder of one of the brightest minds by a bunch of bigots and the very Government that he worked for. The least he deserves is the true depiction of his ghastly demise.