'The Imitation Game' tells the story of 'unsung hero' Alan Turing

Actor Benedict Cumberbatch portrays Alan Turing, who worked as a codebreaker during World War II and is often cited as the founder of computer science.

Jack English/The Weinstein Company/AP
'The Imitation Game' stars Benedict Cumberbatch (center).

With his many appearances on the big screen and on TV within the past year, you may feel like actor Benedict Cumberbatch is everywhere. His next appearance is in the film “The Imitation Game,” which hits theaters today and which is already earning Cumberbatch Best Actor buzz in the Oscar race.

In “Game,” Cumberbatch portrays Alan Turing, who is often considered the founder of the field of computer science. He worked during World War II to crack German codes and, according to the BBC, Winston Churchill said Turing made the largest contribution to the victory of the Allied forces.

The film also co-stars Keira Knightley of “Laggies,” “Downton Abbey” actor Allen Leech, and Matthew Goode of “The Good Wife” as people who worked with Turing during the war as well as “Game of Thrones” actor Charles Dance and Mark Strong of “Before I Go to Sleep” as members of the military overseeing the work of Turing’s group.

“He’s one of those big unsung heroes in history and I feel very grateful to be allowed to tell his story,” Norwegian director Morten Tyldum said of Turing in an interview with the Evening Standard.

Some reviewers from film festival screenings have tipped Cumberbatch’s performance as potentially award winning. Variety critic Scott Foundas writes that the movie “looks and feels like another awards-season thoroughbred” and Associated Press reporter Jake Coyle calling Cumberbatch’s performance, along with Eddie Redmayne’s in the Stephen Hawking biopic “The Theory of Everything,” “already calculated by pundits to be favorites for a best-actor Oscar nomination.”

In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Cumberbatch discussed what he says is the importance of depicting Turing’s treatment for being gay. (Turing was prosecuted after he said he had had a homosexual relationship and is believed to have killed himself in 1954.) 

“It's not an isolated moment in history," Cumberbatch said. "It's a lesson and a warning that our prejudices can still rise and destroy those who are fragile, different and can make an incredible difference in our lives. We differentiate between what's us and what's them at our own peril – orientation, religion, creed.”

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