“The Imitation Game” starring Benedict Cumberbatch (Alan Turing) and an ensemble cast including Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Rory Kinnear, Charles Dance, Mark Strong and Allen Leech is a breakout feature film for director Morten Tyldum. Last February (2014) The Weinstein Company went out on a limb, paying a record $7 million for the film rights to a script that had already caught attention after topping the annual Black List for best unproduced Hollywood scripts in 2011. The film is based on the true story of Alan Turing, a man the world knew little about although his work on code cracking effectively changed the outcome of WW11. The film follows Turing’s story which has been kept secret for many years because of the top level military secrets involved. Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) was one of the most brilliant mathematicians, computer specialists and cryptanalyst the world has ever seen. The war was going extremely badly for the allies when Turing approached officials at Britain’s top-secret Government Code and Cypher School, to offer his services in helping crack the highly sophisticated German codes used to encrypt their military information. The machine known as ENIGMA.
Breaking the ENIGMA codes received top British Government attention with Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill allocated whatever resources needed to the project. The group working on ENIGMA at Bletchley Park was lead by Hugh Alexander (Matthew Goode), an intellectual rival to Turing, hand picked by Commander Denniston (Charles Dance). He lead the first mission to break ENIGMA with a team of experts of various backgrounds including chess experts, logicians and mathematicians. The art of code breaking is based on logic and mathematics. Turing looks at this as a problem that has a solution and believes that however hard the answer is to find, the potential is there for it to be resolved. He knew he could do the job. Once Alan Turing joined this group and took control of the operations, conflicts began to arise.
His selfish method’s cause distance between his superiors and particularly his boss Commander Denniston. Cumberbatch, as Turing captures the essence of this complex character, a loner, a brilliant mind and a recluse. There is something that lies beneath the surface of Turing’s character, a secret he keeps hidden. This is a big part of the film and key to Turing’s story. I leave that for you to find out. But this secret is a catalyst for many of the decisions he makes. Keira Knightley plays Joan Clarke, a genius at puzzle solving. She is brought on the team once Turing’s method’s seem to be the best way forward and her relationship with Turing became significant to the story.