Benedict Cumberbatch stars in "The Imitation Game," a new film that's based on a true story about a man who built the first modern computer to try and defeat the Nazis during World War II.
Based on a true story, "The Imitation Game" is about a man who created the first modern computer. His work helped beat the Nazis and in later years he was persecuted for being gay.
Alan Turing, played by Benedict Cumberbatch, was a mathematical genius who was employed by the British government during WW II, to help crack the Nazi code known as Enigma.
Turing knew that no man could crack a code that changes daily and has hundreds of millions of possibilities and only one solution. So he tried to create a machine, a rudimentary computer that could do the job. The problem is, that computers didn't exist back then, so no one really knew what he was talking about when he was lobbying to get money to build this thing. And because of his arrogance, emotional detachment and anti social behavior, he found it hard to enlist people in his cause.
One person that he did manage to bring into his fold, who believed in both him and his machine, is a brilliant female code breaker, played superbly by Keira Knightley. It's her best work to date.
The movie jumps around several time periods and tells three separate stories in Touring's life. There's the main one set during WW II, there's one where he's a schoolboy who's bullied for being different. Then there's the one that take place in 1951, back when homosexuality was considered a crime by the British government and Touring was brought up on charges for being gay.
Director Morten Tyldum jumps around all three time periods and thoroughly engages you in this fascinating true story every step of the way. But what really makes it work is Cumberbatch's riveting performance He's simply mesmerizing to watch, subtlety capturing the nuances of this complicated individual.
Even though the film adhere's to some conventional Hollywood moviemaking techniques, it's a very good story and a fascinating and important history lesson that will deservedly be recognized come Oscar time.
Neil Rosen's Big Apple Rating: Three-and-a-half apples