In his 8.30 Telluride review of The Imitation Game, Variety‘s Scott Foundas was initally none too charmed: “Nothing is too heavily encrypted in The Imitation Game, a veddy British biopic of prodigal mathematician and WWII codebreaker Alan Turing, rendered in such unerringly tasteful, Masterpiece Theatre-ish fashion that every one of Turing’s professional triumphs and personal tragedies arrives right on schedule and with nary a hair out of place.” Then it got worse: “More than once during the accomplished (but not particularly distinctive) English-language debut for Norwegian director Morten Tyldum (Headhunters), you can catch the ghost of the late Richard Attenborough nodding approvingly over the decorous proceedings.” Aiyeeeee!…worse than Banquo!

Then he relents and warms up: “And yet so innately compelling is Turing’s story — to say nothing of Benedict Cumberbatch’s masterful performance — it’s hard not to get caught up in this well-told tale and its skillful manipulations. Likely to prove more popular with general audiences than highbrow critics, this unapologetically old-fashioned prestige picture (the first of the season’s dueling studies of brilliant but tragic English academics, to be followed soon by The Theory of Everything) looks and feels like another awards-season thoroughbred for U.S. distrib Harvey Weinstein.”