‘The Imitation Game’ Trailer: Benedict Cumberbatch Is Very Upset, Historical

By  · Published on July 22nd, 2014

The Weinstein Company

Plink. Plink. Plink. Plink. Plink. What’s that? Oh, just the sound that signals that a serious, dangerous, historical trailer is coming on through (consider it on par with the “brrrrannngghhh” of setting a mood). Plink. Plink. Pllllunk.

The Imitation Game is indeed serious, dangerous, and historical – fortunately for all involved, it also looks pretty good. After years of development back and forth (remember when Leonardo DiCaprio was going to star in this?), Graham Moore’s Black List script about the life of Alan Turing (“the father of computer science”) is finally an actual movie with a bunch of actual stars and enough street cred to push it into “hey, maybe we need to think about awards or whatever” territory. Cool beans, and maybe it will get kids interested in computer science! It’s a win-win! (Although we wonder what kind of kids will be checking out the historical Benedict Cumberbatch film this fall, but c’est la vie.) The film stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Turing, with Keira Knightley on board as his best pal/early cool coding girl Joan Clarke and Matthew Goode, Charles Dance and Mark Strong around to add some gravitas.

Ready your ears for the plinking, after the break:

During World War II, Turing was tasked with helping to crack the Enigma code that the Germans used to communicate with each other (to be a touch more specific, Turing worked for the Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS) and then led Hut 8, which was dedicated to breaking German naval codes). It was a major undertaking, one that the brilliant Turing was absolutely equipped to do and one he excelled at. Boring story, right?

Oh, come on, that’s not all. Turing was also homosexual – which accounts for those anguished bits in the trailer about how he’s not attracted to Knightley – which frames up some interesting themes for The Imitation Game to explore. Here’s a guy who is dedicating his life to breaking secrets, all while harboring his own. Intriguing, yes?

It’s unclear as of now how deep Morten Tyldum’s film will go, as this trailer is all about the Enigma unraveling with brief bits about Turing’s personal life, but even after Turing did his job for the British government (and did it well), they didn’t treat him with the appropriate respect. Turing was eventually put on trial and prosecuted for his homosexuality back in 1952. Instead of going to prison, Turing accepted a horrific alternative – chemical castration – and only lived for about two more years after his punishment was literally administered. Turing’s death (by cyanide poisoning, good God) was ruled a suicide, but not everyone bought that. See how much there is to explore! See how upsetting so much of it is!

Plink. Plink. Plink.

Still, no matter how exactly the film plays out, it’s a juicy part of Cumberbatch, the kind of dramatic role that allows him to look very upset almost all the time, but always with very good reason. Let’s not polish up the Oscars just yet, but let’s not not get them looking shiny.

The Imitation Game arrives on November 21st.