Despite the fact that this movie has no hope whatsoever of passing the Bechdel Test (If you don't know what this is, please educate yourself), I couldn't help but be drawn in by the powerhouse male cast of Tom from Downton Abbey (I don't know his real name, but who needs to?!) and Benedict Cumberbatch, not to mention that one dude from The Good Wife. So far, so good...
Not even ten minutes into the movie one can easily tell that all these male co-stars are really only there to highlight Cumberbatch's performance. They say their lines and occassionally show some depth, but this is Cumberbatch's moment in the sun, and the directors make sure you know it through the countless close-ups of his face throughout the movie. To be fair, he does a phenomenal job portraying his character, and did manage to move me to tears a few times.
The real highlight of this film for me, though, was not Cumberbatch but Kiera Knightly. Knightly plays a girl named Joan who finds herself in an all-boys club of decoders during WWII. Her acting in this movie reminds us that "sometimes it is the people no one imagines anything of that do the things no one can imagine." I must admit that while I find Knightly delightful in Pirates of the Carribean, I never imagined she would have the chops to pull off this type of role so splendidly. While several critics have claimed her lines and plotline are predicatable, I thought there were a few pleasant surprises along the way. For example, when Cumberbatch (Turning) tells Knightly (Joan) that he is a homosexual, she does not run away dismayed or call off the wedding like Turning predicts, but rather tells him she does not care; "they can have each other's minds."
Other than the acting, the storyline is intriguing for those who enjoy learning more about WWII and the era. While it is true that we all know the outcome of the war, few have probably ever heard of Enigma, Turning, or the making of the first computer. (In fact, I'd be willing to bet that some even thought that Steve Jobs was responsible for the invention of the first computer...haha!) For a history buff like myself, this movie was a nice mix of education and entertainment. I give it 3 out of 5 popcorn buckets.