Not one but two trailers came out today for Morten Tyldum’s “The Imitation Game” — surely timed to go with it being a part of the Toronto Film Festival’s first major announcement tomorrow. The film aims to be a major player this Oscar season, and it sure has those goods on paper: Tortured gays who do amazing things have a pretty good track record in that regard. Except the trailers don’t really get into that…
Based on Andrew Hodges’ “Alan Turing: The Enigma,” the film stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing, the real life mathematician who played a major role in cracking Nazi Germany’s Enigma code and thus helping the Allies win World War II — only to be prosecuted for homosexuality in 1952, receiving a chemical castration as his sentence. He allegedly killed himself two years later, and it wasn’t until this past Christmas that the Queen finally granted him a posthumous pardon.
Clearly, we haven’t seen the movie yet but the trailers sure don’t make much of Turing’s homosexuality. The first version (from the Brits) simply says Turing has “more secrets than the best of them,” while the American version is surprisingly the more explicit — though just barely. It includes a line where Turing says about Keira Knightley’s character “what if I don’t fancy her in that way.” To which someone tells him to be quiet because “it’s illegal.” All pretty vague, but that’s often just problematic marketing for you and one can only hope the film itself doesn’t skim over those details. While what Turing did during World War II is nothing short of remarkable, the tragic state-level homophobia that was involved obviously needs to be addressed in a big way. And really, would make for a much more layered and interesting film anyway.
Check out the trailers below, and look for the film at various fall festivals (London has confirmed it will have its European Premiere there, which basically locks it for Toronto) or in North American theaters on November 21st.