2014 was a year that saw some big strides in bio-pics as the lives of such influential characters as Martin Luther King Jr. (Selma) and Stephen Hawking (The Theory of Everything) among others were brought to the screen. One of the lesser known contributors to mankind who had his story adapted to film was that of Alan Turing. While lesser known as a household name, it could be argued that Turing made the single greatest contribution to the success of the allied forces in WWII. Morten Tyldum’s Imitation Game focused on Turing’s invaluable achievement in cracking the Enigma machine, but along the way it went headlong into an aged-old moral dilemma which we would like to turn our focus to.
For Your Consideration (Movies you may not have heard of, but should consider watching)
A Danish (Film): Flame and Citron
Just wanted to give one quick movie recommendation, along with a mini review. On Amazon Instant Video you can find an awesome Danish movie entitled “Flame & Citron”. I highly recommend this little bit of foreign awesomeness to anyone who is a fan of dramas centered around WWII and spy activities. It is loosely based on actual events about two members of a Danish Resistance Group during Nazi occupation of their homeland, Denmark. The two members are Bent Faurschou-Hviid (Codename: Flammen) and Jorgen Haagen Schmith (Codename: Citronen), and their boss Johann Jaakob Jiingulheiimurschmidt. One of the previous names is made up, and I will let you use your own sleuthing skills to decide which one.
The movie was really pretty good too. The acting was great, the heartbreak was palpable, the mood was dreary, and the morals existed in a gray area. No one was portrayed as completely good or completely bad, but rather completely complex in context. Neither hero was a superhero. Each had their faults, and they were never portrayed as anything other than entirely human. The set design was bleak and fit the mood of the movie very well. There was never much hope seen in the movie, at least not any that made the viewer believe it was attainable. Rather than hope, it seems like more of a game of who can take longer to die.
This film touches on several “fog of war” issue (the fog of war is when the line between right and wrong is hard to visualize). Some have said war is neither wrong or right, but just is. Well, I don’t intend for this to be a soap box to discuss pros and cons of wars ethically or practically. The movie, though, brilliantly illustrates this confusing “fog” with different ideologies growing amongst different resistance groups, questionable alliances, and questionable motives. There are even a couple scenes that force you to look at a Nazi soldier like a human being, something we don’t commonly do. I think this movie recommendation is vague, but I don’t want to spoil anything for you. The whole movie, just like with any good spy movie, keeps you guessing on who can be trusted and who can’t.
One touching aspect of the movie is the very trusting friendship between Flame and Citron. But Citron basically abandons his family in order to continue in the underground work. Which would you choose? Don’t forget the context: Nazi occupation. Here is that “fog of war” again. Stay with your family, which you are to love and provide for, or serve (to protect) your ‘people’ with underground resistance to an oppressive and hateful regime?
This is not an actual review. But if it were, I would give this movie 4.5 stars. I love movies like this. This is a portrait of the human condition. When you decide that the only “god” you need is not the one true God, but rather an angry, racist, sexist, homophobic, paranoid little man (and a failed artist), then you know it just isn’t your day. This isn’t to make light of the real concerns that Germans had leading up to WWII. But Hitler was a confidence man who offered nationalistic hope at the cost of the bloodshed from ethnic cleansing. There is no hope in that bloodshed. There is no real, transcendent, long-lasting hope in any bloodshed, save for that which happened about 2,000 years ago. That was the bloodshed that lead to death that lead to resurrection and life everlasting. If you’re looking for hope, that is the only place to turn, which is a gift from God, the loving Father, through his Son, Jesus Christ. When man decides to make himself god, the Hitler-type really isn’t that uncommon. If you need examples, just read about the 20th century.
Read about the actual people and events the story was based off of on Wikipedia:
p.s. And speaking of the fog of war, there is a great documentary entitled The Fog of War: 11 Lessons from the Life of Robert McNamara that circles around an interview with Robert McNamara. I highly recommend that documentary! It gets very touching when he talks about an old pal he misses, John F. Kennedy. Perhaps you’ve heard of him.