The Imitation Game proves that a ripping true story can survive even the Oscar-bait effect. This is a profile of Alan Turing: British mathematician, code-breaker of Germany’s Enigma device (a feat of decrypting that significantly shortened World War II, per Winston Churchill), father of the machines we now call computers. Turing’s achievements were long kept secret, although he’s been depicted a few times in recent years, including a BBC take with Derek Jacobi (Breaking the Code, 1996) and a fictionalized film with Dougray Scott (Enigma, 2001). But The Imitation Game is bound to prove definitive, if not Oscar-winning.
Here Benedict Cumberbatch plays the brilliant Turing as a borderline-autistic personality, a rude brainiac who fiddles with his big computing machine while his colleagues (led by Matthew Goode, Mark Strong, and Charles Dance—that British acting pool remains deep) stand around scratching their heads.