Review by Alex Grant
is the high point of Michael Apteds career
(R; 117 min.), directed by Michael Apted, written by Tom Stoppard,
based on the novel by Robert Harris, photographed by Seamus McGarney
starring Dougray Scott, Kate Winslet, Saffron Burrows and Jeremy
Tom Stoppards script for the evocative, expert espionage drama Enigma
is notable for its perfect pitch, pace and passion.
Opening with a moving montage of the key visual elements of the story,
set among the brainy boffins of the 1940s Bletchley Park HQ. For
wartime codebreakers, Enigma is a thoroughly engrossing as its forward
narrative momentum never flags for a second. Veteran Director Michael
Apted and his gifted team of established British craftsperson, confidently
recreate a chilling and heartbreaking WW11 ambience. A deft fusion of
eccentric characters who charm, cheat and challenge our assumptions about
chivalrous conduct under extreme pressure.
Tom Jericho (Dougray Scott), barely recovered from a nervous collapse,
returns morosely to Bltechely Park when new Nazi Enigma Code,
used by the U-Boat fleet to co-ordinate attacks on Allied convoys, foils
his colleagues. The boffins have four days to break the almost unassailable
Jericho has been devastated by the infidelity of his lover Clare Romilly
(Saffron Burrows) a suspected latter-day Mata-Hari. A broken
man, he is himself targeted by counter-espionage, his actions placed under
An elaborate intrigue of conflicting personal and public witchhunts has
been set in motion by the sudden disappearance of Clare Romilly. Is she
a ruthless seductress and traitor or a self-sacrificing patriot?
Enigma, against all odds, makes vivid the interior lives of a clutch of
inspired introverts whose accomplishments can be made only at the expense
of hundreds of lives: to pinpoint the whereabouts of the U-Boat Wolfpacks
the codebreakers must wait and watch as the biggest convoy in the North
Atlantic is about to be torpedoed to smithereens.
Enigma is the high point of Michael Apteds career: a mesmerising
tribute to previously unsung heroes and heroines whose calling was often
Rent or buy the movie
© Alex Grant September 2002
Produced by Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones this has been a pet
project of his from the moment the novel by Robert Harris was published.
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