The Imitation Game: Music Analysis
The Imitation Game, directed by Morten Tyldum, was based on a true story during World War II. It was the years of great tragedy, however, this movie showed a sense of heroism in its own way. It did not come from the British army, but the brains of various individuals like one of the most well-known mathematicians in the world, Alan Turing. The usage of ethos, pathos, and logos presented by the music throughout the film, made this particular movie unique. It gave a connection between the character in the movie with the audience by using music that emotionally, logically, and credibly connected with them. Clint Mansell, who was the composer for the movie Moon, said: “When I first read the script and started thinking up the music, I kept this in mind and really wanted to give the audience a sense of isolation and loneliness” (Music and Mood, A22). This is a clear example of the importance of a composer to bring all three (pathos, ethos, and logos) into each song played in a movie. Which is clearly what the composer, Alexandre Desplat, did so well throughout the film as he used the script to pick music that was not currently popular but that fit well with the history of Alan Turing.
At the start of the movie, a man appears in an isolated room. The background music resembles what we hear in video games which goes with the title of the movie, the Imitation Games. It sets the tone of the movie, making it seem somewhat suspicious as well as goes with what we typically hear in the background of video games. The man who is speaking is also explaining what he believes is the most important aspect of what he will be talking to us about in the movie, a depth on what this movie is really all about. Without the music, we would just hear him explain it but with the music, it feels like a game as he tells us to listen closely and look for the details. As he says “you think because you are where you are and I am sitting where I am, that your are in control in about what is going to happen, you are mistaken”, it fits perfectly with the music as it portrays a sense of mystery which is what is typically in video games. As if we as the users, are trying to unravel the key to winning the game, it gives a sense of brand and recognition to the feeling of these games.
One of the most important parts of the movie, if not the most important, is when Alan Turing realizes what has been missing to break enigma. The particular music is essential as it first uses the tone resembling video games but then transitions to a more intensifying melody. As he gets closer and closer to the machine, tension rises with the music that appears to sound like drums. It is the same feeling you get when hearing loud footsteps getting closer. It makes the audience feel a sense of anxiety and lets them know that something intense is about to occur. The music used in The Imitation Game is what makes the audience more intrigued with the movie and sets plenty of emotions. In the book, Everything's an Argument (pg. 28), it states “Emotional appeals are powerful for influencing what people think and believe”, and that is exactly what the movie did so well. It influenced the way I interpreted certain situations, as it alerted me when something dramatic was about to happen. Throughout the movie, I did not catch myself bored but heavily awakened.
As the end of the movie was approaching, it was obvious that the end of The Imitation Game will not end happily ever after but would eventually end in a tragic way. That was only apparent to me as the music started getting slower when Alan Turing was breaking down as he started realizing what the medicine was doing to him. Logically, when you start hearing sad music, you automatically know that things would end well, which was the case for Alan. It was a tragic and heartbreaking way to show what would eventually be the cause of Alan’s death. It was a link between the emotional distress heard by the audience as well as an automatic signal for what was to come next. That can be said for most of the music used throughout the movie, it gave the audience a hint of what to expect next.
In conclusion, it can be stated that composer Alexandre Desplat did a great job in picking music that intensified each important scene. It definitely made a huge difference in the success of the movie as it showed a sense of empowerment in Alan Turing, which I could not help but feel sorry for him at the end of the movie. The emotions throughout the film were based on excitement, sadness, and empathy which makes it clear that he did well on his inclusion of pathos. The “branding” of the melody of video games not only connected with the title of the film, but with the beginning scenes of the movie that made it more interesting and imaginative. And finally, the chosen music logically fit well with not only the scenes and characters but the music as well. It made it evident what was to come next in the upcoming scenes which provoked me to pay attention to every detail in the movie. It was a job well done by composer Alexandre Desplat and can say with great appreciation, it was one of best movies I have seen all year.