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ENIGMA

Review by Chastity Campbell

Stars: Dougray Scott, Kate Winslet, Jeremy Northam, Saffron Burrows
Director: Michael Apted
Audio: 5.1 Dolby Digital
Video: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Studio: Columbia Tri-Star
Features: See Review
Length: 119 Minutes
Release Date: September 24, 2002

“Do you know, that without your glasses, you don’t look half bad.”

“Do you know…without my glasses, nor do you!”

Film ***

Enigma: A perplexing speech or text; a riddle.  Well, this movie indeed was a riddle right up to the last five minutes, and even then, I was still sitting there thinking of the millions of possibilities.

We begin our tale of intrigue and deception as Tom Jericho, played by Dougray Scott, is returning to Britain’s top secret intelligence campus after a month long medical leave.   Seems Britain’s expert code breaker fell in love with someone who’d been loving everyone on campus, so to speak, and when he found out, had a nervous breakdown.   Scott is in perfect form right from the beginning as the nerdy number crunching Jericho.  He looks tired and unkempt, as well as being totally uninterested as to why he has been called up again.

Jericho arrives and finds out the code that took him ten months to break has been altered by the Germans, and time is running out for a large fleet of merchant ships headed across the Northern Atlantic.  To make things even more stressful for Mr. Jericho, his ex-girlfriend Claire, the reason behind his breakdown, has gone missing.   Is she a spy working for the Germans, is she an operative working for Russia, or was she a pawn caught up in an intelligence agency nightmare?

This movie is loosely based around actual events that happened during World War II and it was amazing the way they used actual events to set up their mystery.  The director on this flick, Michael Apted, has shown in other recent releases such as Enough starring Jennifer Lopez that he is quite the master at intrigue and suspense.  This movie won’t disappoint you if those two things are what you crave.

We follow along as Hester (played by Kate Winslet) and Jericho try to uncover step by step and code by code what happened to their missing friend Claire.   They meet new friends along the way, find mysterious files and uncover information that will lead them through a series of twists and turns that would make Sherlock Holmes say hmmm!!!  

I was quite impressed with Kate Winslet’s performance as the nerdy but lovable Hester.   While her character was not the demure and sexy Winslet we might remember from Titanic, she does an absolutely wonderful job of using quick wit and intelligence to capture the viewers attention and hold it throughout the movie.  Jeremy Northam did a great job also as the always tricky and chipper agent man.   I have not had the pleasure of seeing him in many other things, but I do believe he could, if given the right story, lead with the best of them.

This movie won’t make you jump out of your seat.  It won’t cause you to bite your fingernails, but it will make you think.  From beginning to end you will be watching each character, making note of each sideways glance, and wondering, who’s friend and who’s foe.  

Video ***

This movie was presented for your viewing pleasure in a 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen format.   I have to say the look and feel of this movie was really well done.   The images were not crisp and clean, but I don’t believe they were meant to be.   This movie really has that World War II feel because of the flaws.   Most of the time I would criticize harshly for this, but with this movie, it just works.    Overall, the quality was good and the somber colors really added to the feel I believe they were shooting for.

Audio **

This DVDs audio was a good, mastered mix in a 5.1 Dolby Digital format.  Unfortunately, that doesn’t help the audio within the movie itself…the dubbing of the dialogue more specifically.  This audio was riddled with noticeable dips, and some very bad edits that really detracted from the over all presentation.   The background music was nice very reminiscent of the recent remake of Pearl Harbor, which helped in setting that World War II tone in my minds eye. 

Features **

There weren’t a lot of features for this movie.  Nothing in depth to talk about, but you do get to view movie trailers for Enigma, Enough, and XXX.  The menus were interactive, and you can choose English or Spanish subtitles.   Typically I don’t bother but sometimes it’s fun to flip the subtitles on and read along in Spanish.   However, I don’t speak or read Spanish, and now you all just think I’m odd, so…moving right along!

Summary:

This movie was an excellent adventure from start to finish.   You don’t have to be a fan of the WWII genre to enjoy this movie, because it moves between so many other genres very easily.   Take a trip out and give it a spin you won’t be disappointed.