The BFI has picked The Imitation Game, about the life of the wartime code-breaker Alan Turing, top open the 58th London Film Festival in October.

The film’s stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley are expected to attend its European premiere at the Odeon Leicester Square, alongside the director Morten Tyldum; the screening will be shown simultaneously at cinemas across the country.

The festival’s programmers describe The Imitation Game as a dramatic portrayal of one of Britain’s most extraordinary unsung heroes and one of the world’s greatest innovators. The biopic follows the race against time, as Alan Turing and his team sought to crack the Nazi Enigma code; an achievement that was seen as shortening the Second World War. But rather than being remembered as a war hero, Turing’s homosexuality, illegal in the UK at the time, led to his public vilification.

Turing killed himself in 1954, two years after being prosecuted for gross indecency and didn’t receive a posthumous royal pardon until last year.

The festival’s director Clare Stewart says, “The Imitation Game does cinematic justice to Alan Turing’s vision, determination and personal story, as well as his enduring impact on British history and contemporary life.” Tyldum, who’s previously screened his Norwegian thriller Headhunters at the London Film Festival, said he was humbled to share Alan Turing’s “incredible story” on Opening Night.

The film co-stars Matthew Goode, Mark Strong, Rory Kinnear and Charles Dance and its screenplay, by Graham Moore, is based on the book “Alan Turing: The Enigma,” by Andrew Hodges.

After opening the London Film Festival, The Imitation Game will be released across the UK on 14th November.
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