EnigmaSeptember 28, 2001
A young genius frantically races against time to crack an enemy code and solve the mystery surrounding the woman he loves.
Release Year: 2001
Rating: 6.4/10 (11,869 voted)
Critic's Score: 64/100
Stars: Dougray Scott, Kate Winslet, Saffron Burrows
During the heart of World War II, in March of 1943, cryptoanalysts at Britain's code-breaking center have discovered to their horror that Nazi U-boats have changed their Enigma Code. Authorities enlist the help of a brilliant young man named Tom Jericho to help them break the code again. The possibility of a spy within the British code-breakers' ranks looms and Tom's love, Claire, has disappeared. To solve the mysteries, Tom recruits Claire's best friend, Hester Wallace. In investigating Claire's personal life, the pair discovers personal and international betrayals.
Writers: Robert Harris, Tom Stoppard
(as Nikolaj Coster Waldau)
Unlock the secret
Buena Vista Int. [United States] UK release site (shockwave) |
Release Date: 28 September 2001
Filming Locations: Adelphi Building, John Adam Street, Strand, London, England, UK
Opening Weekend: £796,776
(30 September 2001)
(24 November 2002)
Did You Know?
Composer John Barry's final film.
U-boats did not have a "klaxon" diving alarm.
Puck and Claire were having an af…
Were seeing each other, as you like to put it. Seeing each other's brains out.
A decent spy yarn but falls far short of the true story
A couple of years ago PBS aired a 2-hour episode of Nova (the American
equivalent of the BBC's Horizon) called 'Decoding Nazi Secrets.' It was
a fascinating documentary about the work done at Bletchley Park, as
well as some material about its American counterpart, Arlington Hall. I
had wished it was even longer, for I suspected that what was left out
was as interesting as what was included. Among the many memorable
characters in the story, none stood out more than Alan Turing, a
painfully shy, socially awkward, utterly brilliant genius. I found
myself wishing that someone would make a theatrical film about the
Enigma code and a film of Alan Turing's life, or both.
Unfortunately, this isn't it. In March of 1943, code-breakers at
Bletchley Park discover to their horror that the German navy has
changed the code sets used to communicate with U-boats at sea. These
were based on the famous and diabolically complex encryption machine
known as the Enigma. Authorities enlist the help of a brilliant young
man named Tom Jericho (played by Dougray Scott) to help them break the
code again. The possibility of a spy within the British code-breakers'
ranks is raised, and Tom's love interest, Claire (Saffron Burrows), has
disappeared. To solve these mysteries, Tom recruits Claire's best
friend, Hester Wallace (Kate Winslet). While investigating Claire's
personal life, the pair discovers personal and international betrayals
involving the now-infamous Katyn massacre in Poland. Of course, Tom and
Hester fall in love.
Dougray Scott actually does bear some physical resemblance to Alan
Turing, but there the comparison ends. Turing's sorry, shabby reward
for the instrumental role he played in winning the war for Britain was
to be persecuted during the Cold War because his homosexuality was
viewed as a security risk, to the point that he committed suicide.
While 'Enigma' looks good and plays fairly well as a decent espionage
film, the viewer who knows the factual background of this piece of
fiction will probably be disappointed. The best part for me was the
recreation of the physical setting at wartime Bletchley Park,
especially the Enigma machines themselves and the famous Bombes, which
were invented by Turing (Jericho in the film). These were among the
world's first computing machines; they were a stroke of brilliance by
Turing: Instead of looking for what a coded message WAS, they operated
according to the principle of eliminating what it was NOT. This cut the
number of possibilities by better than 90% and greatly simplified the
work of the human code-breakers. It is somewhat surprising that this
rather wan film is the work of Tom Stoppard and Michael Apted; they
have done better.