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The Oxford Murders (2008)

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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:

Álex de la Iglesia (as Alex de la Iglesia)

Writers:

Álex de la Iglesia (screenplay) (as Alex de la Iglesia), Jorge Guerricaechevarría (screenplay) (as Jorge Guerricachevarria) | 1 more credit »
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6 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Elijah Wood ... Martin
John Hurt ... Arthur Seldom
Leonor Watling ... Lorna
Julie Cox ... Beth
Jim Carter ... Inspector Petersen
Alex Cox ... Kalman
Burn Gorman ... Yuri Podorov
Dominique Pinon ... Frank
Anna Massey ... Mrs. Eagleton
Danny Sapani ... Scott
Alan David Alan David ... Mr. Higgins
Tim Wallers ... Defense Lawyer
James Weber Brown ... Doctor
Ian East Ian East ... Howard Green
Charlotte Asprey ... Howard Green's Wife
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Storyline

Martin (Elijah Wood), a PhD student in mathematics, enrolls at Oxford in the hope of meeting his mentor, Professor Arthur Seldom (Sir John Hurt). The young man manages to find lodging at Mrs. Eagleton's (Anna Massey'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 (Julie Cox). 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 (Leonor Watling), a beautiful girl he met during a game of squash. One night, Seldom and Martin, who find themselves at Mrs. Eagleton'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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Spain | UK | France

Language:

English

Release Date:

2 July 2010 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Los crímenes de Oxford See more »

Filming Locations:

London, England, UK See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$10,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,191, 8 August 2010

Gross USA:

$4,803

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$17,646,627
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

(At around eighteen minutes) This movie gives a nod to Directors Brian De Palma and Quentin Tarantino with an apparently seamless two plus minute tracking shot, travelling through multiple interior and exterior locations to reveal the first murder victim. See more »

Goofs

(at around 1h 17 mins) After Prof. Wilkes finishes his presentation of his solution to Bormat's Last Theorem, the writing on the blackboard behind him changes. See more »

Quotes

Lorna: You're like two kids fighting over a ball.
Arthur Seldom: And you're the ball?
Lorna: No, I'm the nurse who's going to spank your bottoms if you don't shut up.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The background to the credits sequence is a representation of a blackboard full of equations and mathematical formulae. See more »

Connections

References V for Vendetta (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Orchestral Suite nº1 in C Major, BMW 1006:1 Overture
Written by Johann Sebastian Bach (as J.S. Bach)
Performed by Felix Prohaska and Vienna State Opera Orchestra
©2003 Vanguard Classics
Courtesy of Vanguard Classics
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Useful as a example of bad screen writing for future screenwriters
9 April 2009 | by rzajacSee 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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