For a long time, every time a computer or something geeky appeared in a movie, it was either to show how evil the villain was (look, he has a machine that will take over the world), to be the villain itself (“I'm sorry, Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that”), or just plain gimmicky (you've got mail!). When digital tech was a point on which the plot turned (say, in a spy movie or sci-fi), everything moved so fast that the audience didn't have time to feel left out.
But smartphone-toting audiences are comfortable enough with their devices talking to them and giving them directions and ordering their food that creators are convinced they needn't mark it off with blinking red lights anymore. Computers are part of the background to life now, like refrigerators and cars.
So in 2010, we got The Social Network, which featured shots of hackathons and glimpses of Zuckerberg's PHP. More recently, the TV shows Silicon Valley and Halt and Catch Fire dramatized and skewered start-up culture. There was Her, in which the operating system played the romantic lead. And last year's The Fifth Estate took a look at Wikileaks. Though movie wasn't great, it did give laymen a pretty good idea of the technology that let Julian Assange pull all this off.
The best part of that movie (and, let's be honest, many movies) was Benedict Cumberbatch as Assange, and he's also the best part of The Imitation Game. Based on a book by Andrew Hodges and directed by Morten Tyldum, the movie tells the story of Alan Turing, the English mathematician and logician who helped crack the Nazis' Enigma code and win World War II.
I learned about Turing during a history course in college, but as inventor ...1