Home | Reviews | Exclusive Writings | Great Links | Miscellaneous | FAQ | Contact Us

Enigma /

Rated: R

Starring: Corin Redgrave, Tom Hollander, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Dougray Scott, Jeremy Northam 

Directed by: Michael Apted 

Produced by: Mick Jagger, Lorne Michaels 

Written by: Tom Stoppard 

Distributor: Manhattan Pictures


Movie Image
Movie Image
Movie Image

     I like it when a film is based upon its dialogue, but Enigma relies on it. Most of the story is pretentious and has no real feelings for its characters, despite great performances by the two leading ladies. This isn’t common in most independent releases, because their low budgets restrict them from having anything but dialogue, so the screenwriters juice it up as much as they can, but this movie pretends to live up to a wide releases standards. It has great green screen-jobs and rather thoughtful action sequences, but beyond that there is no real substance. We get a lot of fat but no flesh or bone; watching it is like eating a Reeses’ peanut butter cup without any chocolate coating.

     The story takes place in World War II era and features Bletchey Park, where the English were trying to crack Enigma, a Nazi encryption whose code was almost impossible to crack. Though a tremendous challenge, the team, with the help of a machine must solve the codes puzzle quickly, enabling them to find out how the group of German’s are planning an upcoming attack, that will bring lead their U-Boats into a fleet of American cargo ships. Also trying to crack the code is a man named Tom Jericho, who is also trying to solve a bigger mystery, he must find the woman he loves after she is reported missing. This story is quite good, and the way in which the two elements to the plot intersect is fabulous; but all of this is covered up by the blandness of the characters personalities. The roles were well acted, but the poorly written thoughts and ideas were much too easy to act. I’m interested in reading the original novel to see if the errors are in the adaptation of the story, or in the story itself.

     Kate Winslet and Saffron Burrows were absolutely tremendous in the film, though as I said before, their roles weren’t very hard pieces to play. Winslet worked as the intelligent Hester Wallace, because her look could quite easily be turned into a nerdy personality, and she was able to act along with the part. Burrows had a much smaller role, but nailed it. This might sound silly, but one of the most noticeable reasons why she was so great in the film is that she was able to keep an excellent sense of composure in the graphic scene of sex, in which the movie earns its “R” rating for. The two were roommates until Burrows character ended up as a missing person, and judging by the various flashbacks and scenes taking place in the present, I’m sure that the director wanted to show how the two’s split made them grow further alike; emotionally and physically. As Winslet’s character grows closer to the mysterious Tom Jericho, she becomes more self-confident, and even a bit sexually intimidating. Through flashbacks, we see Burrow’s Clare Romily gain more independence after a quarrel with Jericho. The two are absorbing each others traits as time moves on. Despite the white-belt level of challenge, the performances are notably solid.

     Though more or less a treat to watch, most of the time Enigma is bland, confusing, and even tedious. The story has a great premise, but never takes off and has a stupid and boring plot. Confusion and spur-of-the-moment type contributors are half the plots beauty, because they make everything feel more realistic as far as the way of thinking in the time period goes, but they harm more than help; causing lots of plot holes and mysteries left unfinished. A sequel would most definitely support the movie excellently, but due to its nature, the production company is in no position to make one. If you’re a fan of the war/mystery genre you’ll like this one; otherwise, don’t bother.

-Danny, Bucket Reviews


Back to Home
The Bucket Review's Rating Scale