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alley_skywalker

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But didn't they already know this? [Mar. 25th, 2015|09:53 pm]
alley_skywalker
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For all of its brilliance, there is one moment in The Imitation Game which, once I thought about it, actually baffles and slightly annoys me. It annoys me because I don’t understand why it was written that way and it seems kind of stupid. In the end, it cheapens the “aha!” moment of the film.

Now, it could be that I’m just an idiot and am missing something. But, I don’t think so, especially since I’ve re-watched the movie a couple of times and read some articles and things on the scenes in question. So, here’s what baffles me:

Supposedly the “aha!” Alan has at the bar while talking to Helen is that his machine doesn’t have to look through ALL the settings, only those that produce certain words that they know will be in the messages. (He gets this idea from Helen saying that a certain German was starting his messages always with the same five letters, instead of random ones the way he was supposed to.) This makes sense. (I’m actually not completely sure how it would even work otherwise.) So, why didn’t they think of this? Those five (six, counting Jack) geniuses didn’t think of something so quite obvious? But the thing is – they did!

Before going to the bar that night the group has a conversation approximately like this:
Alan: It’s searching. It just doesn’t know what it’s searching for.
Someone: If only we knew what the messages were going to say.
Someone else: If we knew what they were going to say, we wouldn’t need to decode them.

So, basically they already KNEW the trick! They already understood that it would be easier if they had information on what was supposed to come out on the other end. Even if the others didn’t get this, Alan surely did as he understood that his machine would do better if it knew “what it was looking for.” And obviously they already knew that the German’s sent a weather report every day and that the reports ended with “Hiel Hitler.” This isn’t something they got extra information on between this /conversation and Alan’s talk with Helen.

The whole thing does make the lot of them look kind of daft, lol. Maybe I’m misunderstanding the scenes? But that’s what it looks like to me.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: evelyn_b
2015-03-26 06:13 pm (UTC)
I have not seen The Imitation Game and I don't know anything about the historical background, but I have heard from people in the know that the code-breaking team in the movie had a lot of completely ahistorical daftness thrust upon them for the sake of "drama." So if it seems like something they should have known already, their real-life counterparts probably *did* know it already.
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[User Picture]From: alley_skywalker
2015-03-26 09:01 pm (UTC)
Oh yea, I've read that too. And, I mean, I can generally deal with historical dramas not being very historically accurate, and "dumbing" things down to make the scenario accessible in this case made sense. But this moment was so completely illogical that it just feels like a failure in writing than anything else.

Otherwise, however, it's a wonderful movie. I definitely recommend it :)
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[User Picture]From: your_insomnia
2015-03-26 07:55 pm (UTC)
Yes, that didn't make sense to me either but I thought that perhaps I was missing something about the way Turing's machine worked.

Another thing that didn't make sense to me was that they never once considered the fact that even if they did crack the code they wouldn't be able to use the information all that much because then the Germans would know. The whole time they were working on the code, I was like "But?!!!" and then when they did finally break it, Alan went like "But?!" and I went, "YOU DIDN'T REALIZE THIS BEFORE?!" at the screen but I figured it was done for movie drama's sake.
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[User Picture]From: alley_skywalker
2015-03-26 09:14 pm (UTC)
I mean, I can kind of get that they weren't thinking about what would come after. Like, this wasn't even the sort of decision-making that they were supposed to be making. They were just supposed to break the code, and then other people, like MI6 or something, would decide how to use it. Plus, they had to decide in a super time-sensitive situation, which, I suppose, wouldn't usually be the case. I mean, I'm sure it was done for dramatic effect and to show the moral dilemmas that this sort of thing came with. (As well as inserting some personal tragedy into the thing, which all good war movies have to have lol.)

Them not thinking ahead is one thing, but them not realizing they had the answer under their noses all along was just silly.

Edited at 2015-03-26 09:16 pm (UTC)
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