Mathematician and codebreaking genius Alan Turing is the kind of guy who deserved his own theme song, for he is one of the reasons why the world exists as it does today. While there are no Turing-themed ditties in the above first full-length trailer for the historical drama The Imitation Game, there is more than enough drama and overwrought emotion to make this pic look like instant Oscar bait. Extremely predictable Oscar bait, but still.
Benedict Cumberbatch stars as Turing during the most game-changing period of his life, as he leads a team of codebreakers at the Government Code and Cypher School at Bletchley Park in Buckinghamshire. That team includes the Irish future chess Grandmaster Hugh Alexander (Matthew Goode) and the quick-on-her-feet cryptanalyst Joan Clarke (Kiera Knightley). Their job is easy to describe, but seemingly impossible to pull off: figure out how to crack the codes of the German Enigma machine and essentially save the world. No big deal.
Turing had a lot of other things going on in his life around that time, but it looks like The Imitation Game — a nickname for his famed artificial intelligence-identifying Turing Test — will stick mostly to the events covering all things deciphering.
Turing’s life ended far away from the legendary image that upending a World War granted him. A homosexual in the days when Britain outlawed such a lifestyle, Turing was given the option of imprisonment or a hormonal treatment that would essentially render his manliness moot, as he became impotent and his breast tissue swelled. Turing’s death is in question, as it’s been ruled suicide by cyanide, though there are some arguments against such claims.
It’s interesting to see Knightley used here as the romantic foil, as Clarke and Turing were set to be married at one time, though his confession of being gay kind of put a damper on that. There’s one part in the trailer when he says he’s doesn’t “fancy her in that way,” and then the other guy says that it’s illegal to say something about it. It would be a giant damned shame if The Imitation Game glossed over and/or reverted Turing’s sexuality, but I’m hoping those clues are proof that he’ll be presented in true form here. Especially since he was posthumously pardoned for his “crimes.”
The Imitation Game is director Morten Tydlum’s follow-up to his stellar 2011 thriller Headhunters, which makes me optimistic that he and screenwriter Graham Moore really cracked the code in creating something better than your average biopic. We’ll find out when the pic — also starring Mark Strong, Charles Dance, Tuppence Middleton, and Rory Kinnear — hits theaters on November 21.