by Neil Smith
Based on the bestselling novel by Robert Harris, "Enigma" is a superior period drama that pays tribute to the heroic cryptanalysts of Bletchley Park. They spent World War II deciphering the codes Nazi U-boats used to communicate with each other. Stylishly directed by Michael Apted from an intelligent Tom Stoppard script, it's a ripping yarn that recalls such early Hitchcock classics as "The Secret Agent" and "The Man Who Knew Too Much".
Dougray Scott plays Tom Jericho, a brilliant code breaker recovering from a breakdown brought on by his obsessive desire for the beautiful Claire (Saffron Burrows). Returning to Bletchley Park, he finds himself embroiled in two seemingly unrelated mysteries. One involves Claire's sudden disappearance, the other is a race to crack the Germans' Enigma code before their subs make mincemeat of an Allied convoy crossing the Atlantic. With help from Claire's room mate Hester (a bespectacled Kate Winslet), Tom uncovers a web of betrayal and intrigue every bit as fiendish as the Enigma itself.
There are many reasons to admire this engrossing and literate movie: the stirring score by John Barry, the excellent period detail, Stoppard's deft combination of historical fact and dramatic conjecture. What can't be added to that list is the film's hurried and implausible conclusion, which whisks the viewer away from Bletchley to facilitate an unlikely action-packed climax. But this is a minor weakness in a classy picture that marks an auspicious debut for Mick Jagger's new production company, Jagged Films.
Home + Enigma + Contact