Alan Turning is an incredible mathematician and logician. We find out that during World War II he cracks the Enigma code to help England win the war.
The film is told in flashback form at times as we visit three different stages in Turning’s life, all building up and explaining the man he was during the War. The film starts with Turning in the police station and a detective being convinced that he was spy against England. It turned out though that his life was a lot more complicated than it first looked and the actual reasons for him being arrested were being involved with another man.
This then leads to a flashback and showing how he got involved in the war and we get to find out a very hidden story about a team of code-breakers. The best people at solving puzzles in the whole of Britain. They don’t take well with Turning joins them and is very arrogant about being so much smarter than the rest of them. It quickly becomes apparent that Turning is not a people person and does not really know how to communicate and get along with others very well.
With the help of MI6 agent Stewart Menzies he manages to get backing from Churchill himself in a bid to build a machine to help crack Enigma, the system the Nazi’s were using to send scrambled messages, they had to do anything and everything possible to crack the code which changed at midnight each day.
As well as looking back at his time in Bletchley Park, we are also taken back to his school days when he only had one friend in the whole world Christopher. This is all very important to know about Turning and really builds up his character very well and helps to explain why the machine has the name Christopher and why he cares about it so much.
It is an incredible performance from Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turning, who gives it his all throughout the whole film. If you weren’t too sure about this actor before seeing this film then I can confirm that after seeing it you really will be impressed and understand all of the hype that has surrounded this actor in the last few years. He really is something special and you have to mention and think of a possible Oscar nomination for this role.
As well as Cumberbatch this film has a very good cast, helping to showcase a lot of British talent. I am not and have never been the biggest Keira Knightley fan but she hasn’t done much wrong with the films she has been in this year and this film is the same, she is bearable and not annoying in this one. Mark Strong never has the biggest roles in films, but that doesn’t matter he steals the scenes he is in and the perfect choice for a MI6 agent. Matthew Goode has been in quite a lot of films quite recently and is very good in this one as well. Not forgetting Michael Beard who I last saw on stage in the brilliant Skylight, he certainly has a big future ahead of him.
The film really does flow nicely and easy to follow, I know some people don’t like the thought of a film changing between different years and think it will confuse them. But this one doesn’t run that risk it has enough time in each time period to make a point and then back to the other one. It really is the best way to help explain and show certain things in this film.
Parts of the film are rather difficult to watch and quite sad, especially when you see the treatment given for being homosexual back in those days. But I think it is very important to show how things used to be, to make sure nothing would happen like that anymore. It shows how far thoughts on this have come in not really a massive amount of time.
I have always enjoyed learning about World War II and this story is no different, it gives us more and something different to what we have had before, cracking a code may not sound that exciting but I promise you it really is exciting and enthralling from start to finish. Don’t miss this one for Cumberbatch in an amazing performance.