starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Rory Kinnear
screenplay by Graham Moore
directed by Morten Tyldum
by Walter Chaw Benedict Cumberbatch is amazing, truly, in Morten Tyldum's better version of A Beautiful Mind, The Imitation Game. Based on the life of logician and mathematician Alan Turing, the Bletchley Park genius who broke the Enigma code but was later pilloried for his homosexuality, the film is conventional in every way save Cumberbatch, who, frankly, had never particularly appealed to me before now. His Turing is clearly (to a guy in the middle of all this sudden awareness of Autism) somewhere on the Autism spectrum, incapable of building relationships and understanding metaphors, making him the perfect person, in his (mis)understanding of the world, to break codes. All language and every subtlety of human interaction is a puzzle for him, you see; breaking the unbreakable German Enigma cipher is simply another of the same variety. The Imitation Game, however, is crystal clear, lockstep in narrative and exposition and careful to leave no child behind as it explains how Turing and his team of irregulars managed to build the first computer and defeat the Nazi war machine by intercepting its communications. At the end, its message is the same as The Incredibles', though housed in a far more conventional motor: different is good, and you shouldn't criminalize homosexuality, because what if a gay guy is the saviour of the free world and you just chemically-castrated him and caused him to kill himself? As messages go, that's not a tough one to get behind.