Or, If it Hadn't Been for Schoolboy Bullying, We Might Have Lost the Second World War. Alan Turing famously invented something like the world's first computer as part of the British effort to crack the code employed by Germany's Enigma machine. And this is the story of that, told with gorgeous, tweedy Englishness by director Morten Tyldum and starring the effortlessly superior Benedict Cumberbatch. (At least, he makes superiority seem effortless.) See, young Turing was an outsider from the get-go: ostracized for his oddity as a boy, and later, removed from the standard operations of society by his (then illegal) homosexuality. So-called "normal" life operates by a code he must somehow crack if he is to get along, and it proves to be ideal training for his eventual ascent into the heady realms of British spycraft. Of course, there's room for plenty of hiding and heartbreak and heroism along the way, especially since his straight colleagues are either cads, sops, traitors, or lovely, sympathetic women. Consider the code cracked, translated, and laid out for all to see: different is special is good, and ordinary morality is a sham, anyway. But as the film buries the man beneath the message, you might wonder: did we really need to be told in such blunt, artless fashion? (2014) — Matthew Lickona
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