Most of Graham Moore's PG-13 screenplay (based on Andrew Hodges' book) focuses on the beginnings of the task force that was assembled when Britain's Military Intelligence ascertained how impossible it would be to break the code (it changed daily). Ultimately, the deed was done by half-a-dozen crossword enthusiasts. (I know this sounds facetious but it is a quote.)
Here is part of the brilliant cast:
- * Benedict Cumberbatch ("Sherlock") is astonishing as Alan Turing, the adroit but socially awkward cryptanalyst (a bit of Asperger's perhaps?) who creates this Rube Goldberg device authorized by Churchill himself...to the dismay of the Army officer who debunks it.
- * Keira Knightley ("Laggies") is Joan Clarke, a mathematician whose parents feel working with an all-male crew would be indecorous. She, on the other hand, says a woman in a man's job doesn't have the luxury of being an ass, so she's always charming and kind. She counsels Turing to try making friends with his crew; watch his artless attempt to tell a joke.
- * Mark Strong ("The Guard") Stewart Menzies warns Turing and Clarke that if they divulge anything about their highly secret work, they will be executed for high treason.
- * Matthew Goode ("A Single Man") Hugh Alexander feels Turing needs some social pointers from an expert...and that would be him.
- * Allen Leech ("Downton Abbey") John Cairncross wants to trade secrets because he knows Turing is gay and Turing knows HIS big secret.
The most wrenching time comes after they break the code but can't use their newfound information for fear the Nazis will suspect them and change it. The war continues with the War Offices of Britain and the United States using statistical analysis to ascertain who will live and who will die.
They have to limit their counterattacks until they are ready for D-Day and ultimate victory.
comforts a despondent Turing
near the end of the film, itemizing the amazing contributions he has made to the free world. It is an impressive list. In the tragic postscripts during the final scroll, we are reminded that the Turing Machines
that he created are now known as computers
BTW, any movie that uses three of the best chameleons working in film today (Strong, Cumberbatch and Goode) will be impressive! This film is garnering awards in numerous film festivals and the acting alone is worth the price of admission. Our screening audience applauded.