Umbrellas were out in full force as Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch hit the red carpet for the premiere of ‘The Imitation Game’ marking the opening of the BFI London Film Festival.
The film is a historical drama about British mathematician and computer scientist Alan Turing, who played a pivotal role in cracking Nazi Germany’s Enigma code, enabling the Allies to win several crucial battles during World War Two.
Later prosecuted for being homosexual, Turing died of apparent suicide.
“The extraordinary irony and tragedy of his life is that he was a man who worked to save democracy in the Second World War, save a government and a way of living that then turned on him for being different in their eyes and morally degenerate in their eyes,” said Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays the lead role.
The film spans the key periods of Turing’s life, including his unhappy teenage years at boarding school, the triumph of his secret wartime work and the tragedy of his post-war decline.
Co-star Keira Knightley plays a fellow code-breaker, but admits she didn’t grasp the complications and mathmatics involved in that work.
“We had someone who very kindly tried to give us a talk on exactly how the Enigma machine works and all of that, and these sort of terrified looks came across our faces as we realised that we didn’t actually understand anything,” said the actress at the London premiere.
Convicted for gross indecency in 1952 when homosexuality was a crime in the UK, Turing lost his job and was given experimental chemical castration as a “treatment”. He died two years later.
Alan Turing was granted a posthumous royal pardon in 2013, 59 years after his death.
After touring the film festival circuit, ‘The Imitation Game’ will be on global release from November.