Oscar-nominated The Imitation Game on SA screens


Benedict Cumberbatch is Alan Turning in The Imitation Game

The critically acclaimed The Imitation Game hits South African cinemas this week. It’s a dramatic portrayal of the life and work of one of Britain’s most extraordinary unsung heroes, the gay genius Alan Turing.

Benedict Cumberbatch (Star Trek Into Darkness, and TV’s Sherlock) and Keira Knightley (Atonement, Pride and Prejudice) star as Turing and his ally and fellow code-breaker Joan Clarke, alongside a top-notch cast.

The story kicks off in the winter of 1952, when British authorities entered the home of mathematician, cryptanalyst and war hero Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) to investigate a reported burglary.

They instead ended up arresting Turing on charges of ‘gross indecency’, an accusation that would lead to his devastating conviction for the criminal offence of homosexuality. Little did officials know, they were actually incriminating the pioneer of modern-day computing.

Famously leading a motley group of scholars, linguists, chess champions and intelligence officers, he was credited with cracking the so-called unbreakable codes of Germany’s World War II Enigma machine.

Directed by Morten Tyldum, the film is an intense and haunting portrayal of a brilliant, complicated man, who under nail-biting pressure helped to shorten the war and, in turn, save thousands of lives.

The Imitation Game has been nominated in eight categories for this year’s Academy Awards, including Best Film, Best Actor for Cumberbatch and Best Supporting Actress for Knightley.

It has been criticised by some, however, for downplaying Turing’s homosexuality. See it and judge for yourself. The Imitation Game opens in South African on Friday 23 January.

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