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A decent spy yarn but falls far short of the true story
mfisher45229 October 2003
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.
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Not a war movie for the masses
Philip Van der Veken10 April 2005
'Enigma' is the kind of war movie that may not be loved by many people, mostly because there isn't much of action to be seen in it. At least, not the kind of action they would like to see: no heroically fighting soldiers, no breathtaking dogfights between the RAF and the Luftwaffe... But people like me, who are deeply interested in every aspect of the Second World War and who can appreciate a good story, certainly will love it.

It's March 1943 and the crypto-analysts at Britain's code-breaking center have discovered that the German U-boats have changed their Enigma Code. At first the English were able to read all their messages, but now they are back where they first started ... nowhere. Their only hope is the brilliant young man named Tom Jericho, who was able to crack the first code and who'll now have to do the same with the new one. In the meantime Tom's girlfriend Claire has disappeared and at the same time it is believed that there is a spy in the ranks of the code-breakers. When looking for his lost girlfriend and investigating her personal life, he uncovers some personal and international betrayals...

However it is clear that the main story of this movie is fictional, the entire movie is certainly interesting to watch. I mean, I have never had the chance to see how this enigma machines really worked, so I really appreciated the fact that it was shown so well in this movie. What I also liked in this movie was the love story that certainly wasn't too corny or overwhelming. It was an interesting part of the story that never bothered me, it just made the movie even better.

As I already said, this may not be the kind of war movie for the masses, but I liked it and that's why I give it at least a 7.5/10, perhaps even an 8/10.
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Nutritious whole brain entertainment for the mind
George Parker25 September 2002
"Enigma" blends fact with fiction as it tells a carefully crafted story about the unseen and unsung heros of British WWII code-cracking who decrypted the infamous "Enigma" code which Germany used to command it's U-boat armada in the North Atlantic putting allied convoys in peril. With plenty of history and super-secret code cracking to feed the left brain and a dramatic tale of a top code-cracker and his surreptitious affairs of heart and mind for the right brain, "Enigma" has something to offer everyone. The film manages it's intricate plot well, offers solid performances, blends intrigues with lots of WWII crypto-speak, and moves along swiftly while staying real and avoiding the usual excesses of filmdom. A smart flick for smart minds. (B+)
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History without histrionics
rdarlington7 October 2001
This is a rare pleasure of a film - one that is prepared to treat its viewers intelligently and tell a war-time story without explosives and histrionics and without falsifying history to glorify the Americans. It is based on the best-selling novel by Robert Harris whose previous work `Fatherland' suffered so badly when translated to the screen. Here he has a decent screenplay from Tom Stoppard, assured direction from Michael Apsted, and three fine performances by British actors.

Dougray Scott, in a very different role from his `Mission Impossible 2' outing, has lost weight to portray brilliant, but tortured, code-breaker Tom Jericho at Britain's war-time Bletchley Park; Kate Winslet put on weight (she was pregnant at the time) for a performance far removed from `Titantic' as the frumpy, but clever, Hester; and Jeremy Northam is excellent as the sardonic secret service agent Wigram who knows far more than he is prepared to reveal.
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I must like this or I wouldn't own a DVD copy.
c_parky20 September 2003
I first viewed this film the way its makers would want me to - on the big screen, and with friends. It commanded my attention and concentration, which, I believe, is the way good movies should. The post-viewing dinner and analysis made me want to go back and see it again, in spite of the fact I thought my absorption was total. In the event I waited until I was able to rent, then purchase, the DVD. So my opinion is based on multiple viewings, which says much about the complexity and detail ENIGMA provides.

I am not surprised to read comments from others who believe it was too complex after just one viewing. But I am surprised by the diversity of opinion of its direction, acting, scripting, design and cinematography - all of which I found to be of the highest standard.

This is one of those rare films that does not require an audience to suspend dis-belief. It is primarily fact-based, and while, like most fact-based movies, some events are concatenated, characters combined or dramatized, the presentation oozes credibility. Is it entertaining? Absolutely. Do the romantic plots and themes detract? Not at all. Is the code-breaking boring? No, but, like most who viewed it with some knowledge of the German encryption machine from which the movie takes its title, it may have left stuff out that would be nice to know about. Other reviewers have referenced web sites and publications that contain the detail and I have sourced material that has satisfied my curiosity.

It is not a documentary, in spite of the fact that director, Apted, is an eminent documentary maker. It is a human drama set amongst the surreal environment of the code-breaking complex of Bletchley Park. I can't comment on how faithful Stoppard's screenplay is to Harris' book, not having read it. And it is specious for anyone to make comparisons in any case.

Does the film downplay the Polish contribution to the Ultra activities? I don't think so. They captured an early 3-rotor Enigma machine and copied it and successfully cracked the codes then in use. What the English operatives captured was the later 3-rotor machine with the front patch panel, which was a quantum leap ahead of the pre-war machines. Turing and his associates then created the 'bombes' - reproduced in exquisite detail for the movie with assistance of the curator of the Bletchley Park Museum. Incidentally, Britain built a number of these bombes for US intelligence, which the US still have. But that's the sort of detail that is not essential to the execution of the plot or the enjoyment of its portrayal.

I have now enjoyed viewing ENIGMA so often I have lost count. And it has done nothing but whet my appetite for further, while less frequent viewings. I can add nothing to the erudite comments of the more discerning reviewers regarding the performances of Scott, Winslett, Northam, Burrows and their superb supporting cast members. They have crafted one of the finest wartime movies I have had the pleasure to experience. An absorbing and fascinating movie. I rate it 10 out of 10.

Postscript - added 30/07/2011.

Incidentally, at my first viewing of the movie, I was impressed by the performance of a rather portly, bespectacled young actress. It was not until the post-viewing dinner my curiosity was sated, somewhat ashamedly (but in Ms Winslett's favour), for failing to recognise this talented lady. I later discovered - and it is obvious in the final scene of the film - Kate was, in fact, pregnant at the time. Carefully disguised during shooting, her condition simply made her character all the more believable.
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An overload of elements - and it's clear which element should have gone
Spleen17 May 2002
Firstly: no, it's NOT a scandal that Alan Turing isn't mentioned. He couldn't be mentioned without being made into a character and given a role in the story - which would mean, among other things, placing him on the list of suspected traitors, at least temporarily, which would either be a slur, or (assuming it wasn't a slur because we'd immediately know him to be innocent) a constraint on the mystery. Throwing in a clearly fictitious genius was the right thing to do. (Turing was the most important, but not the only, genius involved.)

The main problem with "Enigma" is that emphasis is badly misplaced. I was interested in (a) how the war effort was going, (b) whether Bletchley Park would come up with solutions in time, (c) HOW the process of breaking codes was actually carried out, and (d) when Tom would get over his idiotic infatuation with that annoying blonde chick and fall, as any sensible person would, for the dynamic and twenty-times-more-attractive Hester (Kate Winslet). I won't swear that I was interested in these things in that order, but I WAS interested in them to the exclusion of everything else; the mystery subplot involving Claire that for some reason becomes THE plot, was a distraction. Its twists and turns (they come along like clockwork every fifteen minutes) are of the kind you don't even bother trying to follow. You just wait for the next confrontation between Dougray Scott and Jeremy Northam, of which Stoppard's (or Harris's) mechanical sleight-of-hand is just a means of providing. A pity he couldn't have found some other means - or moved Northam's character to a different movie altogether, where he wouldn't take time away from Enigma, Winslet's character, etc.

The film - and the script, too, all things considered - is well put together (intelligent writing, excellent acting and photography), so the Claire subplot makes it a real missed opportunity.
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Good suspense war film
ma-cortes29 July 2004
The movie concerns upon an investigation team in the Bletchley Park mansion with the aim to decipher communication keys of German submarines during second world war.

In the squad there are a wise nut-head (Dougray Scott) , an ugly and outcast girl (Kate Winslet) and another rush and beautiful (Saffron Burrows), and yet a clever investigator (Jeremy Norton).

The movie mingles mystery , action , a love story , thriller and it's quite amusing.

The flick is paced to nick of time , as they ought to figure out the clues by means of the Enigma , a mechanical device before that an Allied fleet was found by German subs .

One of the motivations behind shooting this picture was the indignation of many British World War 2 veterans over the movie U-571 , in which the capture of the Enigma was shown to be done by American navy soldiers .

Michael Apted direction is nice , he creates enough suspense , we're very interested in the events , besides being based on real deeds.

Final feature film with a full music score composed by John Barry , his music is fascinating likeness to "Dancing with wolves" and a lot of hits during his long career thirty years ago .

It was such a thrilling movie that had a great success in box office.

The film will appeal to emotions enthusiasts and suspense fans.

Rating: 7/10 above average .
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Falsified history.
JeRzy0128 January 2002
Once again, the history of cracking the Enigma's code is falsified. Not so long ago we had "U-591" and now there's this movie. Let's then make this thing clear once and for all: the people responsible for cracking the Enigma's code were the group of Polish mathematicians, among them M. Rejewski, J. Rozycki and H. Zygalski. They made a replica of Enigma in 1933 and in August, 1939, Poland presented France and Great Britain with cracked Enigma specimens, which helped the allies to know the orders and plans of Third Reich. Too bad that the nations who had received such an important gift forgot about it so easily.
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carpet_seller10 October 2001
And this Movie is definitely worth seeing. It's so nice to go to these cinema factories and be treated with a good film, rather than the tripe which always comes out of Hollywood.

Enigma is a quirky, happy go lucky film about codebreakers during the war, with a bit of espionage and a bit of romance, in just the right proportions. Go and see it, it is not too taxing on the brain really as someone else here said, it is certainly not mind numbingly boring Hollywood fodder.
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Read the book
Dirk-415 May 2002
... it is a faithful and gripping account of the activities of Alan Turing and the Bletchley Park codebreakers. The film is a soggy, anachronistic, fictionalised mess. The truth is far stranger and more compelling. A waste of an opportunity to redress the imbalance created by "U-5
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Good actors and story - too many subplots
pattacakes17 May 2004
I stumbled across this movie one day when my huge list of digital cable movies didn't seem to offer me much (what else is new!). I like Kate Winslet & Jeremy Northam so it caught my eye. I liked the movie very much, mostly because I am a history buff and didn't have much knowledge about the whole "enigma" machine and how it was used by Germany during the war. So from that perspective it was certainly acceptable enough to keep my attention. However, the script did move rather slowly at times and they perhaps threw in too many subplots. I feel it is better to hone in on one subplot and expand it than to have too many and feel like you walk away from the movie not understanding ENOUGH. They could have done a better job, but overall, anyone with an interest in learning a bit about the Enigma would find this movie worth watching. I'd give it a 7 out of 10.
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This movie distorts the facts much in the spirit of totalitarian (Soviet, Nazi) propaganda. Thumbs down.
beckett-1510 January 2009
Bad plot: a Pole working in Bletchley learns from one of intercepted German reports about Katyn massacre on Polish officers by Soviet NKVD. He is so upset that he betrays the fact that Allies decode Enigma, nearly bringing disaster on his host country UK... This is a movie worthy of Soviet, or worse, German propaganda, showing heroes as villains.

Good plot and movie material: I am sending everyone interested to Wikipedia information about professors Rejewski, Zygalski, and Rozycki, men who broke Enigma and created first computing bombs. This is a better material for a very exciting war movie, although not a happy Hollywood end is available here: Poles are betrayed by Churchill and Rosevelt in Yalta despite their contribution to the Allied war effort, they are depicted as unwanted troublemakers in the pro Soviet British press ... to appease the "lesser evil" Uncle Joe. Especially oblivion of the three heroes who broke Enigma and created systems to read German communication on a production scale is deplorable.
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briszmon17 October 2004
Should be seen if only because it presents a great deal of finely done workaday detail of the most closely guarded secret of WWII. The breaking of the German military codes by the world's first electronic computer was probably the single most important advantage of the Allies in the war. There is the overlay of a suspenseful enough spy tale, but the main thrill is to see a recreation of the legendary super secret country estate, Bletchley Park, where Alan Turing and other highly gifted young mathematicians and scientists gave the decisive blow to Nazi Germany. Tom Stoppard's script does a neat job of simplifying the complexities and putting forth a sense of the atmosphere of exhausting hard work and fate which must have constantly hung in the air.
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Not a bad film, but completely inaccurate
Richard W. Langbauer5 September 2003
Alan Turing is the man who broke the enigma code & in the words of Hunter S Thompson saved all of us from spending our Saturday nights @ Circus-Circus. Alan Turing was a "fag". He was so poorly treated by the English establishment that he killed himself. That would have been a very interesting story. The story that actually made it to the screen was useless. Oh, Alan Turing is also considered the founder of computer science -- but f*** that let's just make a piece of mindless spooge.
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Dismal soap that shamelessly exploits wartime tragedy and heroism
Dominic Peterson6 February 2005
Warning: Spoilers
The dramatic story behind the World War 2 code breakers at Bletchley Park, apparently capable of shifting thousands of copies of books at airports around the world, is apparently not dramatic enough for Mick Jagger and the other hip dudes behind this "tribute".

In this movie, geniuses accomplishing extraordinary technical feats under great pressure are merely there to provide backdrop for a couple of childish romantic themes and a spy chase. In similar vein, Nazis are far too abstract and distant to be the real antagonist in this movie - instead our heroes must contend with being tailed by a ludicrous Bond-style secret service man, complete with dumb Scotland Yard sidekick.

Yet if this movie were merely anachronistic ("it's a bitch", "get fresh", improbable and regular use of F-word), or historically irrelevant, we could dismiss it as so much popcorn accompaniment. What makes it actively offensive, as Poles have noted elsewhere, is its brazen exploitation of the Katyn massacre. Truly we are scraping the bottom of the barrel when silly car chases through picturesque countryside have to be given "substance" from tragically real events.

Not that those whose heroic deeds at Bletchley Park were so belatedly recognised have much less to complain about. Either the depiction of thousands of conscientious and totally loyal workers at Bletchley Park was considered too dull to make a good movie, or the writers are genuinely unable to comprehend the society of sixty years ago. Whatever the excuse, we are asked to imagine our codebreaking heroes as unstable teenage rebels. Yes, these top mathematicians are no slouches when it comes to vulgar abuse and fisticuffs, and it's clearly going to be a close-run thing whether Enigma will crack before they do.

Curiously, this script was not created by a coke-addled Generation Xer with no knowledge of life before 1975, but by Tom Stoppard, who based it on the book by Robert Harris. The mistake seems to have been to take a lightweight fantasy and try to lend it substance by making the depiction as authentic as possible. The result is that we get all-too-real scenes of WWII exhumed bodies segueing into the next mini adventure of our bumbling romantic duo in their cute period vehicle.

If, as reported, Jagger intended this as recognition of some neglected members of the "greatest generation", one suspects that many of them will feel that this is the kind of recognition they could do without.
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Not very fair, is it?
Malwina Ginowt3 December 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Nice and sentimental, but perhaps, in the light of the fact that it was Polish cryptographers Marian Rejewski, Jerzy Rózycki and Henryk Zygalski who in 1932 deciphered Enigma, the present plotting is not very fair, is it? Further, the justification of the plot is not very convincing, not to speak about the resolution. Perhaps crucial historical events, always ambiguous and open to conflicting interpretations, are not the best material for nice and sentimental movies?

It so happened, though, that only yesterday I watched Jeremy Northam in "Possession" (2002). There, the whole point is to remember Northam in various Austen BBC productions. Here, one delightful point was to see him in a very different role. What is more, the day before yesterday I re-watched "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" (2004). What a different Kate Winslett there! It is a great pleasure to watch the actors who, unlike others who always play the same role – themselves – can incarnate so many different characters! Oh well, they are British...
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Cracking codes *contains spoilers*
frodolives22 April 2004
Warning: Spoilers
This movie is not a documentary. Or a docudrama. Or a war movie. Or a romance. It is a movie about code-breaking, about solving mysteries - every single character is involved in that activity in some way or other.

Jericho and the other codebreakers, obviously, are trying to break the German secret code. Jericho is also involved in a private quest to solve the mystery of his ex-lover Claire, who has disappeared. In this he is joined by Claire's friend Hester. Meanwhile Wigram is trying to figure out who has been leaking information from Bletchley Park to the Germans - also a code-breaking activity in a way, but on a psychological rather than a mathematical level. And Puck has, all along, been trying to solve the mystery of what happened to his younger brother.

These three main storylines eventually build up to a climax - the night of the battle, when the codebreakers at Bletchley are frantically striving to find their way back into the German U-boat code before their fleet gets attacked, while Hester is fighting a lonely battle in her cottage, uncoding the messages that Claire stole, hoping that they will offer a clue to where she is.

But the real mystery lies not in numbers, but in human emotions and relationships. Jericho is hot on the trail of the real traitor only to find that Wigram is always one step ahead of him. But in the end it turns out that even Wigram has a secret to hide - or perhaps it could be said that for all his proficiency at reading people's deepest secrets, the one person that Wigram failed to read was himself - which makes him somewhat of a tragical character really.

The acting in this movie is superb - Dougray Scott and Kate Winslet both do a fantastic job, and so does everyone else, down to the smallest parts. One of my favorite bits is a small cameo, of one of the women employed in taking down the morse code without ever knowing what any of this is about, asking Jericho if what they are doing is at all important - brings me to tears.

The most outstanding performance, in my opinion, comes from Jeremy Northam as the ultra-smooth and ultimately tainted spy chief Wigram - not a pleasant character at all, although he can't be said to be evil, but Northam manages to imbue this character with so much hidden pain that I find myself relating to him more than any of the more obvious characters.

Wigram is a voyeur - he very obviously gets a kick out of spying out other people's most private moments. Witness the scene in Jericho's bedroom where Wigram basically gets his kicks from making Jericho relate his relationship with Claire - someone that, as we learn later, Wigram has a much more personal interest in than we at first would assume. Or study the series of face expressions when Wigram is preparing and then watching the bombing of the German U-Boot that comes to pick up Puck - from utter voyeuristic fascination with the prospect to the horrible moment of "what have I done" when the bomb has gone off. I do not know if any of that is in the original book, or in Stoppard's screenplay, or if it is Apted's direction, but it sure does take an extremely intelligent actor to embue a character that could easily have become a clichee (and unfortunately the costume doesn't help!) with so many subtleties and layers of emotion that he turns into the most interesting character study in the entire plot.

The movie does improve on repeated viewings, as there is a certain amount of plot overload going on that one has to find one's way through. But hey - it's a movie about code breaking, isn't it?
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Repeat after me; Tom Jericho is not supposed to be Alan Turing...
mostly_harmless27 January 2003
Warning: Spoilers
Some mild spoilers follow...

Enigma was a film destined to upset some people. Those who didn't read the book would moan that the Brits were trying to take all the glory away from the Poles (glory and war...how terribly 19th century...), and that Turing was replaced with Jericho because Turing was gay. Those who had read the book would complain about all the layering and depth that was sliced off the plot in order to pander to a supposedly intellectually impaired audience. Both camps are of course missing the point.

The film is a fictional tale of intrigue set against a backdrop of momentous historical events. The Enigma of the title refers not only to the German code but also to several of the characters. Claire Rommily is an Enigma that Jericho fails to break until the very end of the film, Puck is an Enigma made all the more un-breakable by the fact that no-one recognises him as such. Jericho too is an Enigma, even to the audience who is privy to some of his inner thoughts, as he hides as much as he discloses and is capable of more than appearances suggest.

So the story is as much about the codes that people use with each other in everyday life as it is about military code-breaking. Which is not to say that the use of Bletchley Park as a frame for the story is arbitrary; the two kinds of code breaking are bound up in each other, and that is the art of the piece. The artfulness of the film must be accepted before any kind of criticism is undertaken.

The historical criticisms that are nevertheless levelled at Enigma seem churlish to say the least. Firstly, the Poles are an integral part of the plot, and in the book significant time is given over to their crucial part in the very existence of Bletchley. That this aspect is less apparent in the film has more to do with the limits of the medium than any British propaganda; Fasson and Grazier's role is similarly pared down to a mere line. As for Jericho as a sanitised form of Turing, such criticisms show a level of historical ignorance in the critic that is thankfully never shared by the film-makers. Turing was in a far more senior, technical position than Jericho, and in the book it is made clear that Jericho is one of Turing's students from Cambridge. Anyone wanting a film all about Turing should get hold of the excellent Breaking The Code, starring Derek Jacobi.

What is important about the history in Enigma is that it never alters anything that really happened, merely weaves it's plot within the established facts. Unlike, say, Pearl Harbour...

Of course, there are other potential problems with the film, but they rest pretty much exclusively within the purview of personal taste. It isn't a fast-paced actioner; at no point does Dougray Scott battle Tom Cruise on a pair of powerful motorbikes, but then Marmite doesn't taste of chocolate, yet I like them both the same. Some concessions to the visual nature of films are made (the re-framed ending being an obvious example), but readers of the book should either accept these changes or stop watching films altogether.

Whilst slow paced at times Enigma remains intellectually stimulating and the plot never seems to drag or become bloated. As an example of a well-made, intriguing, and, dare I say it, entertaining film, this is one for the DVD collection.
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Above all, badly executed
sweavo29 March 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I watched this with a dim knowledge of what went on at Bletchley in the second world war. I thought the film coped well with putting the complexity of codebreaking in a viewer-friendly way and accurately portrayed the dynamic of the communication challenges inherent when "suits" talk to "geeks".

That's about the limit of the good things I can say about the way this film delivers its message. It doesn't seem to be able to decide what the important things are and it doesn't help you get behind any of the protagonists' causes. Maybe that was the intent - the plot itself is a bit of an enigma - but I would have preferred a clearer indication of what the protagonists wanted for themselves. You could tell simply from the formula that he would get together with the dowdy female geek, but there was no clear turning point where he overcame his obsessive devotion to his missing ex.

A few good moments, but does little to educate and little to really entertain.
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3 out of 10
gregorywyatt20 September 2002
I didn't enjoy this film!

A dull, foppish, daft central character who achieves nothing worthwhile during the film except drag us through a mundane plot and get it together with chubbily pregnant Kate Winslet. Doug Ray Scott, sleepwalks through the film and manages to make us laugh at his antics (unintentionally, of course), at every turn. Kate Winslet does well with her role, and is creditable at managing to be more attractive than pouting femme fatale Saffron Burrows. The rest of the cast are allowed to fulfil their stereotypes with cardboard cut-out gusto.

To sum it up, no suspense, no surprise, a main character with no character, silly errors and daft direction all conspire effectively to keep an intriguing premise thoroughly well encrypted.
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Falsification of history
Leszek513 January 2009
This movie is huge falsification of history. First of all - Polish mathematicians and cryptologists decrypted Enigma several years before WWII. Decrypting machines were already built. You may read about it here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cryptanalysis_of_the_Enigma But Polish contribution to the story in this movie is mentioned in this movie in one single phrase. But there is even worse point. The only bad character of the movie is a Pole! Author of this stupid scenario invented Polish guy who would be able to betray allies and become a German spy. What an absurd ! This 'author' probably knows nothing about polish attitude to Nazis during WWII. Poland during WWII had two occupants and two enemies - Nazi Germany and Soviet Union. But no one would join one enemy against the other. It was impossible. But not for makers of this movie. If Pukowski were a real man, after revealing the truth about Katyn, he would probably commit suicide.
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Plain Text
tedg1 November 2002
Warning: Spoilers
Spoilers herein.

Gosh, I waited for this eagerly. Tom Stoppard is the best screenwriting weaver of self-referential work. Kate Winslet is one of our finest actors who knows how to play multiple layers simultaneously and who also understands how to cross time shifts.

Northam is less brilliant, but has been snappy with some Wilde material that plays with text. Saffron is queen of the musky images. The story is (even minus Alan Turing) one of the richest in all the history of the world in terms of the thing and the representation of the thing.

What went wrong?

In fact, the script is great. The problem is Apted, who is oblivious to the possibilities for manifolding studded into the script. Watch Kate struggle with an inept bureaucracy of the film while she does the same in character. Watch as they both (the Bletchley and Jagger crowds) make provision for genius without understanding it.

I am into pairing films for viewing. This one goes with `A Bridge Too Far,' in terms of the poles of British competence in the War.

Despite the clumsy filmmaking, and the thuggish score, and the laconic editing this is still worth seeing. But you must decode it to see the gem of a film that is hidden in there.

My one fault with the decoded film is that it lacks a visual mapping of the mathematical/geometric vision some of these guys had. `Beautiful Mind' tried and botched it bigtime. What we need is Greenaway and Nyman.

Ted's evaluation: 3 of 4 -- Worth watching.
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Poor screenplay, poor scenography, naive action.
steveko11 March 2002
Probably for the first time a mass production, english speaking movie, with an explicit statement, that England was unable to win the Battle of Britain without the decoding of the Enigma machine. It explains, why the "Enigma secret" was kept in a secret for the next 30 years after the WWII. What the movie does not explain is, that before WWII the French and the English counterintelligence did receive the fully operational Enigma machines (with the appropriate decoding info) from the Polish Army. The machines were "Made in Poland" and were the perfect copies of the German originals. The English counterintelligence did show zero interest in the machine. And the english copy landed in a store room in England.

The screenplay shows a Polish guy trying to join Germans. Obvious nonsens.

At the same time the English counterintelligence was full of Russian spies (see later escapes of English top officers to Russia).
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Why tell the story of a great achievement and leave out the main hero?
bmh201031 August 2009
I think this movie is a disservice to Alan Turing. He was the undisputed leader of the team that took the initial Polish work to break the Enigma Code, broke subsequent variations (such as for the naval Enigma machines) and automated the whole thing by creating one of the world's first computers called BOMBE. His work thus directly brought World War II to an early end and saving hundreds of thousands of lives in the process. He was also the founder of modern day computers and artificial intelligence (just Google 'Turing Test'). Why create a fictional story? In telling the story truthfully, they would have to touch on the fact that Alan Turing was gay. In 1952 he was arrested for being gay, was chemically castrated, and had all security clearance stripped. He committed suicide in 1954. Was it so unpalatable to tell the truth that the main character in this story was gay (as were thousands of soldiers who fought in WWII)? I think that story is more compelling. Are we so sanitized that he had to be replaced with a team of straight matinée idols? Alan Turing was one of the most important figures of the 20th century, and one of the most slighted. I wish someone would make a decent movie telling his story. You can sign a petition asking the British Government to apologize for the prosecution and castration of this war hero here: http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/turing/
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thomasgulch22 April 2002
How is it possible to have an entire movie about the enigma, and HAVE NO (ZIP, ZERO) mention of Alan Turing, who was more responsible then anyone else in God's creation for breaking the German code, almost single-handedly? This film is a mockery of of a genius. It is like making a movie about the bible and leaving God out of it. Shame.
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