With his involvement in World War II kept top secret by the British government for over 50 years and the recent posthumous award given by the Queen herself, now would be the perfect time to cast some light on the national hero that is Alan Turing. Played here by Benedict Cumberbatch, Turing was a mathematical genius who volunteered his talents to his country’s army and intelligence agency – represented by Charles Dance and Mark Strong, respectively – to help break the Enigma Code, a means of communication that was helping Germany win the war.
fter a recruitment of some of the best minds in the nation, which is how we wind up with the likes of Matthew Goode, Keira Knightley and Allen Leech in some smaller roles, it’s off to help potentially win the war. The trouble doesn’t end there however, as Turing is also keeping his homosexuality a secret in a time when it was still illegal, with his own double life mirroring a potential double agent within his own group of code-crackers.

o we’ve got something of an Oscar trifecta here – a gay, mentally troubled intellectual in the midst of a war – but under the direction of Morten Tyldum, it never feels that obvious; instilling the same mix of tension and humour he brought to his breakout hit Headhunters, but with far more dramatic weight behind it. Cumberbatch is also quite solid in the lead role, but it’s not a million miles away from the genius-with-a-superiority-complex we’ve seen him play elsewhere.
oupled with the clean, crisp cinematography and great supporting cast, The Imitation Game can still feel a little by-the-numbers at times, attempting to cover all the bases of Turing’s tumultuous story without ever really diving too far below the surface. It footnotes elements his life, and in particular his lifestyle, and then promptly glosses over it, delivering emotional details like they’re nothing more than bullet points in a Wikipedia entry. None of this distracts while the film is playing out in front of you, as you remain tightly wrapped up in the story as it smartly unspools. It’s only in hindsight we discover that even though it was very entertaining and fantastically well-made, and even with all the pieces in place, it doesn’t quite prove to be as satisfying as it should have been.