2014’s The Imitation Game portrays one of the greatest mathematicians in recent history, Professor Alan Turing. Played by Benedict Cumberbatch, Turing is hired by the British government to join a covert team of mathematicians working together to break the Nazi enigma code machine, a device used to communicate to the entire German fleet during World War II. The challenge is, however, the machines are recoded every day, giving the Allies less than 24 hours to decode any particular message.
Assigned to work with fellow mathematicians Hugh Alexander (Matthew Goode), Joan Clarke (Keira Knightly), and John Cairncross (Allen Leech), Turing finds it difficult to adjust socially with the group. Turing spends much of his time developing a code breaking machine, convincing many of his colleagues that artificial intelligence is the only way to defeat the enigma code machine. He names his machine “Christopher.”
Flashback to the late 1920’s and we find a young Alan Turing at boarding school. Bullied for being different, Turing has only one friend, a young boy named Christopher. The boys grow very close, until Christopher tragically dies during holiday break. Alan is left all alone to internalize his love and sorrow for Christopher.
The film moves forward to the early 1950’s, after the war. Alan Turing’s home has been burglarized, but he reports nothing has been stolen. Believing all is not what it seems, the inspector starts digging into Turing’s past, revealing his time serving Britain as a code breaker, and more importantly, revealing that Alan Turing is a homosexual. Turing is convicted for lewdness.
“This suspenseful drama reveals pieces of its puzzle steadily and slowly, until the final heartrending picture can be seen at last. Remarkably, it comes from a screenwriter who had never had a feature film produced and a director who had never made one in English.”
— Lawrence Toppman, Charlotte Observer
“Many of the people reading this review are doing it on a computer. And all of them are reading it in English. It’s not much of stretch to say that you could credit both of those things to a man named Alan Turing.”
— Joe Williams, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“Cumberbatch’s scenes with Knightley are a model of how a buttoned-up character can open and reveal himself.”
— Jeff Baker, Portland Oregonian
Did You Know?
Determined to play the role of Alan Turing as close to true life as possible, actor Benedict Cumberbtach made a few personal sacrifices during the filming of The Imitation Game. The actor donned a specially made pair of dentures during the film, which were an exact copy of Alan Turing’s false teeth from nearly 60 years prior. Cumberbatch also perfected his running form for a variety of scenes, as Turing himself was a world-class long distance runner. Review our Gay Themed Films Here
Read our film review on The Imitation Game