The movie is saturated in mystery. Most vividly demonstrated in the mysterious Nazi code that was thought impossible to break, the enigma theme continues in the personality of Alan Turing. Throughout the movie, in the different seasons of Turing’s life, he is depicted as an isolated individual driven towards success. Bullied as a child and lonesome as a standout student, Turing struggles to connect meaningfully with anyone, except one boy.
The enigma theme is not limited to the movie, but reverberates in the way in which the film is being advertised. Appealing to gay rights activists and sympathizers, the film’s leadership chose to emphasize the homosexual aspect of Turing’s life in the ad campaign, though the movie only briefly touches on it. Turing was prosecuted in 1952 for his homosexual relationship, which was then prohibited in England. Given the choice between prison or chemical castration, Turing chose castration. Some believe this led him to commit suicide in 1954.
Though this was a tragic ending to a beautiful life, the film concentrates on Turing’s work on the electromechanical decoding machine that cut the war short by up to four years. This complex machine produced valuable intelligence that yielded great power. A forerunner to today’s computers, this machine cracked the code and placed Turing in a position where he knew pivotal secrets that held great power. Turing was able to hold these secrets of great power because he had been doing so for his entire life.
Symbolized as the machine, Turing is just as complex and possesses secrets that hold great influence, namely his homosexual inclination. Throughout the movie, the tension builds and the mystery looms behind an ever-decreasing shadow as Turing comes to grips with his orientation. The machine is the attempt to break the code, and there is a palpable sense that Turing hopes someone will build a machine to unlock his secrets.
Alan Turing is desperate for connection throughout the movie, for someone to know him completely and accept him wholly. This is evidenced in the questioning game he plays with some characters. In it, he knows the person who asks the questions holds the power, thus he is hoping they ask the right questions to unveil the powerful, mysterious answers he holds.
Today, Alan Turing is being exalted as a type of hero for the gay rights movement. His contributions to society are indelible and his treatment in society is unforgettable.
Turing was more than a mysterious, complex machine, he was a majestic, fearfully and wonderfully made human. He might have been mysterious, but the way in which we treat him, and others like him, is not. We may disagree with their decisions, be unable to sympathize with their inclination, but we may not withhold unconditional love, fervent kindness, and abounding grace.
Alan Turing’s contributions to breaking Enigma code changed direction of the war for the betterment of world. Though complex and perceived as unbreakable, Turing refused to give up. Much like today, the gay rights movement is complex, however the Christian response is not. We love, because it never fails. We love, because it always wins. We love, because we believe that it is greater than guilt and more compelling than shame. And who knows, our loving contribution might just change the world as it did before on the cross.