DRAMA; 1hr 54min
STARRING: Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley
Keeper of secrets: Cumberbatch
English mathematician and cryptographer Alan Turing (Cumberbatch, impressively twitchy) is many things in Headhunters director Morten Tyldum’s solid, fitfully funny and finally moving portrayal. He’s a humourless, socially clueless hedgehog, a closeted homosexual and an officious, egotistical nightmare to work with. He’s also a tragic figure who suicided in 1954 at age 41. One thing he isn’t is slow on the uptake — in World War II, Turing pulled off the then-impossible by cracking Nazi Germany’s Enigma code with a self-built machine that was the granddaddy of computers.
Based on Andrew Hodges’s 1983 biography, The Imitation Game aims to climb inside Turing’s complexly shaded psyche while re-enacting the heady days at the top-secret Bletchley Park code-breaking HQ, whose old-school commander (Charles Dance) can’t abide the misfit wonk. Turing is on the outs with his fellow wonks, as well, with the sole exception of bright spark Joan Clarke (Knightley), who senses a softness that others overlook — to no avail in the end. Neutered by its discretion, this isn’t the most telling of tales. But it does drive home the saddening message that the genius trailblazer whose revolutionary passion saved countless lives would paradoxically end his alone.