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Benedict Cumberbatch is outsider, genius and enigma in 'The Imitation Game' trailer

"Sherlock" star plays codebreaker Alan Turing in the first trailer for WW2 drama also starring Kiera Knightley and Charles Dance.

Keira Knightley joins Benedict Cumberbatch in WW2 drama "The Imitation Game." Jack English

Outsider. Genius. Enigma. Alan Turing was all these things and more, according to the first trailer for "The Imitation Game," starring Benedict Cumberbatch.

"Sherlock" star Cumberbatch plays computer pioneer, mathematician, and code-breaker Turing as he leads efforts to crack the Nazi Enigma code at Britain's top-secret code-breaking centre Bletchley Park during World War II.

The spinning rotors of the encryption machine contrast with the tracks of tanks as Turing's superior demands whether he knows how many people have died because of the Enigma machine, connecting the immediate horrors of the battlefield with the code-breakers' race to end the violence.

Helmed by Norwegian director Morten Tyldum, "The Imitation Game" also stars Keira Knightley as Turing's confidante and fellow codebreaker Joan Clarke, to whom Turing was once briefly engaged. The top-notch British cast is rounded out by Matthew Goode from "A Single Man", "Watchmen", and TV's "The Good Wife"; Mark Strong from "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy"; James Bond's back-up Rory Kinnear; and Tywin Lannister himself, Charles Dance.

In horrifying contrast to Turing's service in the war, in 1952 he was tried for being homosexual, which was then illegal. Found guilty and sentenced to chemical treatment, he was barred from continuing his work with GCHQ. Turing committed suicide two years later.

In December last year, Turing was finally granted a royal pardon for his indecency conviction.

"The Imitation Game" will open this year's London Film Festival in October and will be released in UK cinemas on 14 November. It arrives in US theatres the following week.