Rapid Review: Codebreaker (2011)

codebreaker poster

“I think if you find a person like that – and I don’t think everybody does find one – in fact I think it’s terribly rare, then all you thought before, all your plans for yourself, you realize they were just filling a gap, they were just something for you to do while you were waiting for this person.”
– Alan Turing

SYNOPSIS: The highs and lows of Alan Turing’s life, tracking his extraordinary accomplishments, his government persecution through to his tragic death in 1954. In the last 18 months of his short life, Turing visited a psychiatrist, Dr. Franz Greenbaum, who tried to help him. Each therapy session in this drama documentary is based on real events. The conversations between Turing and Greenbaum explore the pivotal moments in his controversial life and examine the pressures that may have contributed to his early death. The film also includes the testimony of people who actually knew and remember Turing. Plus, this film features interviews with contemporary experts from the world of technology and high science including Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak. These contributors bring Turing’s exciting impact up to the present day, explaining why, in many ways, modern technology has only just begun to explore the potential of Turing’s ideas. – via IMDB


GRADE 7.5Okay, I need to say something that has been said plenty of times, right off the bat, before I can discuss the documentary further. The British government ought to be ashamed of themselves for what they put Alan Turning through, and it is disgusting that it took them so many decades to apologise to him, you know, because it is never too later for saying sorry for robbing someone of their life, and robbing the world of his brilliance. Turing was a fascinating man who made immeasurable contributions to the technology that we know today and take for granted most times, and it is criminal that, after all that he did, he was treated like a leper. The fact that people react so strongly to homosexuality, to this day, is completely beyond me. Granted, the States just moved over to allowing same sex marriages, but the winning margin was so thin, and as many people that are joyous about it, in this day an age, there is still a bitter lot. Moving on from that aspect of it, Codebreaker was a really good documentary. Granted, it didn’t focus too much on the Enigma code or any of that, and didn’t look at too much of Turing’s work too in depth, but it told you more about it, constantly referencing how Turing’s work has influenced the day and age we are in now, and how it was shaped by his ideas, and driving home his contributions. It also focused a lot on Turing’s sexuality, which was ultimately a huge reason that Turing decided to end his life, and a large cause of where his normal life started to derail. I know that a lot of emphasis was placed on his homosexuality, but it has a profound effect on the outcome of his life and hence could not be overlooked for any reason. Codebreaker filled in more of the blanks, the parts I complained about in The Imitation Game, where things happened, events jumped around, it didn’t flow smoothly, where this dramatized documentary showed more of the order of events and occurrences. I think that Ed Stoppard and Henry Goodman were excellent and did wonders for the dramatization and deserve credit for it. If anyone would like a more detailed look at the man that Turing was, this is a great watch, and for anyone that wants a quick rundown of Turing, who has no previous knowledge, this is a really good way to get up to speed.