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The Oxford Murders (2008)

R  |   |  Crime, Mystery, Thriller  |  2 July 2010 (USA)
6.1
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Ratings: 6.1/10 from 20,771 users  
Reviews: 88 user | 69 critic

At Oxford University, a professor and a grad student work together to try to stop a potential series of murders seemingly linked by mathematical symbols.

Director:

(as Alex de la Iglesia)

Writers:

(screenplay) (as Alex de la Iglesia) , (screenplay) (as Jorge Guerricachevarria) , 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
Alex Cox ...
...
...
...
...
Alan David ...
Mr. Higgins
...
Defense Lawyer
...
Doctor
Ian East ...
Howard Green
...
Howard Green's Wife
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Storyline

Martin, a PhD student in mathematics, enrolls at Oxford in the hope of meeting his mentor, Professor Seldom. The young man manages to find lodging at Mrs. Eagleton's but in this house a stifling atmosphere prevails due to the landlady's attitude. Indeed Mrs. Eagleton, who happens to be a friend of Seldom's, is a haughty and unsympathetic woman who also stifles her daughter Beth. At the university, things do not fare much better as Martin is put in his place by his idol during one of Seldom's lectures. But his private life changes for the best as he starts an affair with Lorna, a beautiful girl he met during a game of squash. One night Seldom and Martin who find themselves at Mrs. Eagletons's discover her dead body. They are interrogated by the police. Soon afterwards they decide to lead their own private investigation... Written by Guy Bellinger

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, sexual content/nudity and some violence/disturbing images | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

| |

Language:

Release Date:

2 July 2010 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Los crímenes de Oxford  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$10,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$1,191 (USA) (6 August 2010)

Gross:

$3,607 (USA) (13 August 2010)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

, ,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

During the initial introduction between Martin (Elijah Wood) and Mrs. Eagleton (Anna Massey), they speak about her replica of the German Enigma cipher machine. Mrs. Eagleton states everything was done manually to break the Enigma messages. Mrs. Eagleton states "there were no computers in those days (World War II)" and "calculations were done by hand." Actually, the British, working in Bletchley Park, did build a computer called Colossus by January 1944. Colossus was constructed with up to 2,400 vacuum tubes and programmers used approx. 1" wide paper tape to store programming. By the end of the war, Bletchley Park was using 10 Colossus computers to break various German cipher machines, including Enigma. See more »

Goofs

Bormat's Last Theorem should be Fermat's Last Theorem. It is very surprising since the script gives fairly accurate details of its proof down to the modular forms and elliptic curves. Further, it was solved by Andrew Wiles, not 'Henry Wilkins'. See more »

Quotes

Arthur Seldom: Poor old Guy Fawkes was ahead of his time. He tried to blow up the parliament, the king, lords, & the whole bloody government inside. Since then, every November the 5th we've had this civilized celebration where we burn his image... though nowadays I'd be hard pushed to tell you whether it's to commemorate his failure, or his brilliant idea.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Teen Wolf: The Tell (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

The King of Denmark's Galiard
Performed by The Forge Players feat. Freddie Wadling
Courtesy of Warner Music
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User Reviews

 
Useful as a example of bad screen writing for future screenwriters
9 April 2009 | by (Dongshih, Taiwan) – See all my reviews

This film would appear to be a case where a well-intentioned producer, or enclave of producers, noticed a public interest in conceptually high-toned and seemingly erudite subject matter, combined with more staid pop story elements, like serial murder (Se7en) or overcoming emotional/psychological issues (Good Will Hunting/A Beautiful Mind).

The problem appears to be that they turned the screen writing job over to hacks.

I know that's a brutal thing to say, but it really does appear to be the case.

The film tries to wed serial murder and academic philosophical musing, but fails. Actually, it tries to bring quite the plethora of de rigueur elements together, and mismanages the whole affair. You have all kinds of messy stuff, and an absence of any really compelling myth to bind it together, or even to effectively humanize the characters. You have John Hurt striving valiantly to imbue each scene he works with warmth and sensitivity, but he fails against the tide of bad overall conception/development. Suddenly, Wood is dallying with his hostess' daughter. Where did that come from? Then, she's mad at him for arriving home late. Was she expecting him? Later, she apologizes, and they seem to have arrived at some kind of cozy platonic status quo. Why? And she plays the cello. Uh, are we supposed to assume that an interest in contemporary orchestral ensemble work functions as a hedge against emotional irrelevancy? This was all fast, senseless, and just one example of many, many instances where presumably emotionally resonant moments float in a mutually disconnected vacuum.

And speaking of resonant moments, it's possible that some directorial stringency might have redeemed the script somewhat, though I'm not sure. It appears to be a case where the director accepted the script as-is, directed individual scenes as best as possible, then handed the footage over to editing; maybe they could make sense where he couldn't. There really seemed to be only the faintest glimmer of an understanding of any kind of move toward a redemptive overall storyline. I guess I'm saying that the narrative buck needed to have stopped with the narrators, but instead got passed, ineffectually, along the line in the process, until we see the buck being passed right out our screens and into our laps: The narrators didn't know what they were after--or didn't have the craft to pull it off--could the director handle it? The director couldn't handle it; could the editors make up for the oversight? The editors tried as best they could; if they can't make gold out of shite footage, could the viewer kindly oblige and dig something meaningful out of this morass of disconnected emoting interlaced with disconnected pedantry? By now, I think you get the idea. Seriously: If you're an aspiring screenwriter, WATCH THIS MOVIE. I daresay it's a textbook case.

I'm just having one more thought. It is *just possible* that the script is OK, but we're actually witnessing a combination of bad direction and editing mangling it. I would guess it's unlikely, but it *is* possible.


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