User Reviews (172)

  • phd_travel14 February 2018
    Good acting dumb story
    This is based on a novel - not a true story about Betchley and the Enigma machines. For that watch the Imitation Game. The story is convoluted and absurd. By the time things come together the viewer who cares what happens. Kate Winslet was quite plump here and kudos to her for playing the unattractive one. Saffron Burrows looks quite pretty. Dougray Scott acts tormented well. The supporting cast are all good but this silly story is just not worth watching
  • Jellybeansucker10 July 2016
    Love it, gets better with every viewing
    Period WW2 geekfest movie shot with admirable British restraint. Well cast and fairly well scripted, if a little complex, but very well acted fictional thriller based on the Nazi code messaging system for its frighteningly deadly unter seaboot corps in its North Atlantic theatre destroying Allied supply ship convoys, principally en route to bulk up the soviet Union's resistance against the might of the of the German Panzer Corps, Wermacht front line infantry, Waffen SS and winter trained mountain corps. If you want to see them all in action then don't watch this film but other action based war movies with them in.

    This isn't an action war movie, the closest it gets to it is a wound up maths geek biffing his boss on the chin. This is like a pure strategy console game, a long puzzle giving us piece upon piece to solve. It's not fabulously handled by the writer-director partnership in this regard, but the drama certainly is. This is a complex strategic mystery thriller made by straight drama experts rather than complex spy thriller experts but nonetheless I love it, because they get the feel of it spot on and get exceptional performances out of Winslet in particular as a believable female nerd, and Northam as the flamboyant posh police inspector in charge of the high level case.

    Has a great old fashioned atmosphere helped along with a superbly chosen score of contemporary swing music and Mendlesson, very classy! Highly recommended for a rare geek's look at the non combat roles played in the real war against the dense grain of the overwhelmingly action movie infested WW2 canon.
  • adcore-3867418 March 2016
    a lot of fiction..
    German military messages enciphered on the Enigma machine were first broken by the Polish Cipher Bureau, beginning in December 1932. This success was a result of efforts by three Polish cryptologist's, Marian Rejewski, Jerzy Różycki and Henryk Zygalski, working for Polish military intelligence. Rejewski reverse-engineered the device, using theoretical mathematics and material supplied by French military intelligence. Subsequently the three mathematicians designed mechanical devices for breaking Enigma ciphers, including the cryptologic bomb. From 1938 onwards, additional complexity was repeatedly added to the Enigma machines, making decryption more difficult and requiring further equipment and personnel—more than the Poles could readily produce.

    On 26 and 27 July 1939,[3] in Pyry near Warsaw, the Poles initiated French and British military intelligence representatives into their Enigma-decryption techniques and equipment, including Zygalski sheets and the cryptologic bomb, and promised each delegation a Polish-reconstructed Enigma. The demonstration represented a vital basis for the later British continuation and effort.[4] During the war, British cryptologists decrypted a vast number of messages enciphered on Enigma. The intelligence gleaned from this source, codenamed "Ultra" by the British, was a substantial aid to the Allied war effort.

    Marian Rejewski was responsible for the initial analysis that enabled exploitation of the German ENIGMA cryptographic machine. Without his breakthroughs, which he provided to the French and British in 1939, the U.K. and U.S. may have never been able to exploit ENIGMA. Mr. Rejewski's genius was that he recognized traditional attacks as useless against ENIGMA. He became the first to employ a higher-algebraic attack against any cryptographic system. His insight produced a solution that had evaded his French and British peers for a decade, and thanks to his contributions, ENIGMA-derived intelligence enabled U.S. and British efforts to defeat Germany.
  • capone66624 March 2015
    The Vidiot Reviews...

    The key to an unbreakable coded message is to kill the only guy who knows what the code is.

    However, the code-breaker in this drama doesn't need the code's creator to crack it.

    Back at Bletchley Park to help British military recover their ability to decipher German U-Boat's intercepts, cryptanalyst Tom (Dougray Scott) is distracted by the disappearance of his girlfriend.

    To help locate her, Tom teams with her roommate (Kate Winslet) and together they uncover their country's concealment of wartime atrocities to sway US forces to their side.

    But their snooping soon attracts the attention of an MI-5 operative (Jeremy Northam).

    Loosely based on the true story of the Bletchley Park code-breakers, Enigma omits much of the facts and characters, including Alan Turing, in order to give this account a more cat-and-mouse vibe, which it has in spades.

    Incidentally, most intercepted U-Boat messages were just fan letters to Hitler.

    Yellow Light
  • Prismark1015 March 2015
    Not enigmatic
    Enigma is based on the fictional Robert Harris novel which is a part wartime thriller and part love story based on code breakers in Bletchley Park. It mixes fiction with some real characters and events. The book is gives a grim depictions of a war torn Britain which I am afraid endured for several decades after the war.

    Dougray Scott is a mathematician recovering from a breakdown after a doomed love affair. He returns to Bletchley to find out his ex lover, Claire has gone missing and there is pressure to crack the Enigma code and with intelligence officers crawling about, there might also be a mole in his team.

    Scott (with a variable accent) teams up with a dowdy Kate Winslet to investigate what happened to Claire and discover something more sinister.

    The film was adapted by Oscar winner Tom Stoppard. He introduces some new scenes and different climax from the book. He does well in keeping the grimness of domestic life and fashions of the time but its not a successful screenplay. Director Michael Apted struggles to give flair and spark to the film as it remains dour, dull and lifeless. Despite a few extravagant scenes it does look like a glorified television film.

    Scott and Winslet work well together but the film is too uneven, there are some good shots of the code breaking machines whirring around and some humorous scenes of the women working in Bletchley with the lecherous supervisor. The thriller element despite a good start fails to work and in this adaptation seems flawed.

    Jeremy Northam's acting is provided by his hat and his supercilious character has a habit of speaking lines that sound out of period.

    A disappointment especially as I enjoyed reading the novel.
  • Deep-Thought28 December 2014
    Disappointing if you know the real story
    In 1995 the British declassified Station X, the ultra-secret WWII Government Code and Cipher School at Bletchley Park, 50 miles from London. In 1999, the BBC aired a 4-part documentary about Station X. I first learned about Alan Turing when Nova (the American equivalent of the BBC's Horizon) aired a version of "Station X" cut down to a single 2-hour episode. "Enigma" was released in 2001, well before the present surge of general interest in Bletchley Park and Turing's extraordinary life that has given us "The Imitation Game" (December 2014). Back then it must have been easier to create a fictitious character (Tom Jericho) based on Turing, the eccentric, painfully socially awkward mathematical genius who was one of the stars of Station X. Unfortunately, "Enigma" isn't spectacular even if you don't know anything about Alan Turing.

    The plot: In March of 1943, codebreakers at Station X 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. (That actually happened.) Authorities enlist the help of a brilliant young mathematician, one Tom Jericho (Dougray Scott) to help them, as they put it, find their way back into the code. The possibility of a spy in Station X uis raised, and Tom's love interest, Claire (the 6-foot-tall Saffron Burrows), has disappeared. To solve these mysteries, Tom recruits Claire's best friend, Hester Wallace (based on the historical person Joan Clarke and played by Kate Winslet). While investigating Claire's personal life, the pair discover personal and international betrayals involving the now-infamous Katyn massacre in Poland. Of course, Tom and Hester fall in love.

    Dougray Scott actually looks more like Alan Turing than does Benedict Cumberbatch ("The Imitation Game"), but there the resemblance to Turing mostly 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. He committed suicide at the age of 41. Tom Jericho is most assuredly NOT homosexual, nor is he borderline autistic, which is how Turing is played by Cumberbatch.

    The film does well something that had not been done before, namely to recreate the physical setting at wartime Bletchley Park, especially the Enigma machines themselves and the now-famous decrypting machines Turing invented, the "Bombes."

    While "Enigma" looks good and plays fairly well as an espionage yarn, the viewer who knows the factual background of this piece of fiction will be dissatisfied. It is surprising that this rather wan film is the work of Tom Stoppard and Michael Apted; they have done better.
  • SnoopyStyle26 October 2014
    rather boring
    Thomas Jericho (Dougray Scott) is brought back to Bletchley Park to decrypt the new version of the Enigma machine specially made for U-boats. He's been away after a mental breakdown. There is a large convoy coming across the Atlantic and the Allies are newly blind. There is a suspected spy as the Nazis seems to be changing their ways. Tom is searching for his missing girlfriend Claire Romilly (Saffron Burrows) along with her flatmate Hester Wallace (Kate Winslet). Meanwhile Wigram (Jeremy Northam) is searching for the mole.

    Dougray Scott gives a tiresome performance especially at the beginning when his character is world weary. Kate Winslet is playing a mousy character. All the flashbacks are pretty boring. Saffron Burrows is doing supermodel level of acting. Their great love never seem so great. The movie is a bore when this should be a thrilling spy story. In the end, I don't care about Jericho. That would be workable if Jericho actually turns out to be the mole. That would be quite a nice noir touch. Also the act of code breaking is not done that well. Although doing code breaking well has never been easy.
  • Jonas196919 July 2014
    Unreal but really fun
    Enigma is not for the war buffs who want historical accuracy. Although the historical setting at the headquarters for code breaking during world war 2 is solid enough the characters we meet are fictional.

    The main character Thomas Jericho clearly has some connections to Alan Turing, but the differences are equally apparent to those who know the historical accounts, so anyone searching for a story about Turing should look elsewhere.

    If you can let go of this there is a good spy story to be had. Kate Winslet, Saffron Burrows and Dougray Scott are all excellent in the leading roles, but the supporting cast is equally good. Jeremy Northam's spy master is one of many highly entertaining portrayals.

    The intertwined stories along the way are perhaps more captivating than the main plot, but the ride we are taken on is well worth it.
  • TBJCSKCNRRQTreviews8 December 2013
    Give it your time and attention - this enigma is worth it
    March, 1943. The Shark code is the way Nazi submarines communicate with each other. British cryptoanalysts have broken it. Unfortunately... it was just changed. Mere days are left before a massive, and sorely needed, shipment of resources for allied forces, go into dangerous waters. It's up to a team of eccentric geniuses to crack the new configuration. Among them is Tom(Scott, determined, brilliant), whose ex Claire(Burrows, seductive while dignified) has recently disappeared. He and her friend Hester(Winslet, smart and tired of being overlooked) must try to find her, and uncover the truth behind both events.

    I haven't read the novel, but based on this, I might. My exposure to the director and screenwriter has been hit-and-miss. This is a quite compelling spy mystery. While it starts out as a slow burn, the last half increases in tension and suspense until it almost causes physical pain. Granted, the end has a *lot* of big revelations, and there certainly are some exposition dumps along the way. This does play fair; nothing is truly hidden from the viewer, everything falls into place once you know everything, and there are hints dropped - disguised well as things that don't seem like they'll be important.

    The structure is notable; I understand some dislike it, and it does take getting used to. Right from the start, this starts a habit of, every so often, cutting from our protagonists to a different situation, or showing flashbacks(that's where we see the earlier-mentioned missing girl). if you're put off by it early, be warned that it does keep going. Speaking only for myself, it is a choice that makes sense, and everything does eventually pay off. Acting is great for all concerned. Characterization(no "bad guys" here), dialog(with the inimitable dry wit), filming, all solid.

    This is tremendously detailed and authentic. Cars, clothes, social norms, etc. Of course the personal story told here is fiction, still, it's weaved almost exclusively from the fabric of history. This is the rare blockbuster that treats our knowledge of the past not as something to manipulate into something mainstream, or, *ugh*, a source for conspiracy theories. No, instead, it treats it as what it is... genuinely engaging, and satisfying to come to understand. It's also entirely credible; with today's thrillers, you find yourself missing the plausible, complex-not-convoluted(and not requiring the planner to be omniscient) plot.

    There is some strong language(one of the only gratuitous and, as far as the terms used goes, anachronistic, aspects), disturbing and/or violent content, and a little nudity and sexuality in this. I recommend this to any fan of drama, puzzle-solving, and fact-based films. 7/10
  • pingshar25 November 2013
    Take that, U-571!
    Warning: Spoilers
    Take that, U-571!

    Oh, the irony! "Enigma" was made as a British counter to the supposed historical inaccuracies of the American "U-571," and what happens? The Poles are in a lather at the Brits for historical inaccuracies.

    Look, you twits, they are both fictional! That means they are not supposed to be historically accurate. And no viewer with half a brain would think any the worse of the Poles based on this movie, because it is FICTION.

    How do we know it is fiction? Because there were no such persons as Thomas Jericho, Puck, et al. Some of them were based on real people, they say: Hester Wallace on Mavis Batey, who died at 92 this month (and the reason I watched this). However, the real Batey seems to have played a far more key role in breaking Enigma than portrayed. (The movie never makes clear what exactly she does (after all it's secret) or how she has time to go gallivanting around the countryside.)

    On the other hand, when you make a movie saying a Polish traitor and spy almost cost the war for the Allies, you shouldn't be surprised that Poles might be a bit miffed at you, even if you do give credit to Poland in the beginning of the movie for providing England with an enigma machine, and instructions on how to crack the codes. (Enigma machines had been in use commercially since the 1920s, patented in 1918, so they weren't exactly secret.)

    Referencing "the greatest convoy battle of all time" and the historical Katyn Massacre in text at the end of the movie, without saying there is no historical connection between the two, also would lead to misunderstandings. (The movie never says what is fiction and what is true.)

    Here's what is true in the movie: There were Enigma machines, there was a Bletchley Park, there was a Katyn Massacre, there were convoys crossing the Atlantic, there was a Shark code, there was a World War II. Everything and everyone else, as far as I can tell, is made up. Did England actually sink a German U-boat off Scotland and get its Enigma machine (actually, they didn't need the machines, they needed the code books)?

    The movie wallows in flashbacks for the first half, (sometimes to things that happened just minutes earlier (I think -- it is hard to tell when they happened)). Frankly, I don't think I was intelligent enough to follow them. (Heck, I didn't even understand the beginning of the movie, like why Jericho was persona non grata from the project -- the movie never says what was so terrible that he had done. (I decided to take notes as I watched, but I was still lost.)) And the explanations at the end just made it all the more confusing. Yes, I got the basic plot, but the details looked like a fast sleight of hand game of follow the peanut. I never really cared.

    Sure, Claire was a red herring (any suspect so early on has to be). But why not just let the internal investigator handle the evidence, rather than risk jail? (Because then there wouldn't be much of a movie.) And where did that nice shiny car come from that they were driving all over the place, like Scotland, (not to mention the tightly rationed gas (which they call "petrol"))? Frankly, there were far too many totally implausible components to the story.

    Enigma is supposed to be Britain's revenge on Universal Pictures for making a fictional movie about Americans capturing a fictional Enigma machine from a fictional German sub. So they make a movie about the brilliant work done at Bletchley Park. (Except that in Enigma, the British intelligence agents can't find their own missing Enigma machine hidden hurriedly in a motionless car sitting right in front of them. {I'm not sure I would brag about this.}.).

    But was this actually made by a British movie studio? It was made by Broadway Video and Jagged Films (as in Mick Jagger), and distributed by Buena Vista (i.e., Disney). (Looks British to me.)

    Bottom line: There sure was a lot of confusing running around and flashbacks (plus some all too skimpy gratuitous sex {in a boardinghouse where visitors were prohibited (so the landlady must have been pretty stupid (or drunk)}) for what turned out to be a fairly simple maguffin. (I haven't seen such a pointless mess since The English Patient.) If the point of the movie was to show the brilliant work done at Bletchley Park, it didn't come close to doing them justice. They looked like a bunch of lopsided frat boys. (Meanwhile, the Yanks were making Sigsaly encrypted AD-DA transceivers (loaning one to Churchill so he and FDR could talk on the radio (look it up)} (Not to mention "Mrs. Minniver")).

    Spoiler alert:

    They never come right out and say what the point of the movie was, and why the sinking of the sub was so important (where did that sub come from in the plot, again?). But I guess anyone who could stick with the movie to the end was likely smart enough to figure that out: A British movie studio wanted to capture an Enigma machine from a fictional German sub, to top the American movie studio that captured an Enigma machine from the fictional U-571.

  • MBunge25 July 2011
    Leaves you wanting too much more
    Warning: Spoilers
    Enigma is a decent little WWII movie that tries to blend historic and fictional drama. There are moments when both the real and the pretend are quite thrilling, but they end up detracting from each other so much the film is left flatfooted at its conclusion. Based on a novel by Richard Harris, too many essential details of the book are awkwardly crammed in during the last half hour. Watching Enigma is like taking an enjoyable car ride but then realizing you're late and rushing the final few miles to your destination.

    The historical aspect of the tale concerns the small group of British geniuses enlisted to crack the Nazi's infamous Enigma code. As the movie begins, the Germans have changed the code and left the British completely in the dark just as three huge supply convoys set out from the U.S. to Britain. The codebreakers have 4 days to crack Enigma to prevent U-boats from destroying one or all of those convoys.

    The fictional element of the story is Thomas Jericho (Dougray Scott), the leading genius among the codebreakers who's returned to work after a stint in an asylum. The intense but halting Jericho fell in love with the beautiful and mysterious Claire (Saffron Burrows), who drove him to a nervous breakdown when she sought out and then spurned his advances. Jericho is still obsessed with Claire, but finds she's disappeared without a trace or explanation. In his efforts to discover what happens to Clarie, Jericho is ably assisted by the almost irresistibly cute and spunky Hester Wallace (Kate Winslet), a secretary at the codebreakers' military base. Jericho is also confounded and harassed by Wigram (Jeremy Northram), a smilingly hard British intelligence agent who has multiple agendas.

    Both parts of Enigma are fairly good on their own merits, though the struggle to solve the Nazi code and win the war is understandably more compelling than the mystery of a missing woman, no matter how involved it may be. The difficulty is that by splitting its attention, the movie is never able to fully commit to either piece of itself. Though Enigma admirably tries to weave the two together and have them mirror each other, the on screen time spent with each dilemma inevitably gives short shrift to the other. As a viewer, you want to spend more time with the codebreakers AND you want to spend more time with the slowing budding romance of Jericho and Hester AND you want to spend more time on the conflicts between the intellectual men of science and the practical men of war AND you want to spend more time with the subtly blunt confrontations of Jericho and Wigram AND you want to spend more time with Jericho's memories of Claire. This is a case where you're left wanting more, but it's not a pleasant sensation.

    And as Enigma winds to a finish and the story starts throwing new things at you to set up and explain its big ending, it confirms the imbalance you've been feeling is the real product of a script that needed some things cut out and other things expanded to take their place.

    While legitimate, that complaint should not distract from the reality that this is a pretty good and entertaining production. It's well acted, well directed and the individual scenes are well written. While not a modern classic of the WWI genre, it's well worth it to spend a couple hours wrapped up in this Enigma.
  • akorowajczyk20 July 2011
    about the historical true in Enigma
    Warning: Spoilers
    I'm absolutely shocked by the story. Indeed, one fact trouble me. The story of Bukowski who lost his brother in Katyń. Then, he started to work with Germans. It is such a pity that the director or maybe the scenarist is a such a big ignorant in history. How he can imagine that a brother of polish officer could be a traitor? Because, if he really worked with Germans he would be automatically condemmned to the dead by the polish government which resided in England. The authority of this government was very strong during the Second War and it is imaginable that a brother of the hero could became a traitor. Because, in this times each collaborator was a traitor and the most of them were judged and condemmned to the dead, even women. And people in Poland was very aware of the Nazi. So, the personality of Bukowski was it's very offensive for Katyń's families. If he wanted a person of polish traitor he could search among the folksdeutchs, but not among a Polish subordinate to the polish temporary government in London. But, maybe it it would be to match for his limited mind.
  • runamokprods8 March 2011
    Solid, intelligent, if flawed WWII thinking person's thriller
    Enjoyable, smart WWII thriller about code breaking, based on a true story, and notable for being a war film more about human intelligence then daring action.

    The script by Tom Stoppard is strong. It's very good film, but some irritating flaws keep it from being great. With the exception of Kate Winslet, a lot of the acting is over the top. Also, the film wimps out on the true story, and misses some fascinating complexity, since in real life the lead character was gay, at a time where that alone was enough to win everyone's distrust. Further, the whole style of the film feels old-fashioned in a way that goes back and forth between charming and forced. Last, at least the US version is a really bad DVD transfer. Lots of soft spots, etc. And yet, I'd still urge people to see it.
  • gelman@attglobal.net19 October 2010
    See 'Breaking the Code' Instead
    Despite the assembled talents (Kate Winslet, Michael Apted as director, and Tom Stoppard as the scriptwriter), Enigma is far less interesting than "Breaking the Code," which featured Derek Jacobi as the real Alan Turing, and told the extraordinary story of how the British broke the German code in World War II with much closer adherence to the facts There's really no need for fictional romances to enhance this amazing tale, and Turing is a far more interesting character than his fictional counterpart.

    If you're looking for Stoppard's humorous touch, there's absolutely none of it here. Kate Winslet is a marvelous actress but she's given an extraneous role, and the real drama of the Enigma Machine is subordinated to a hokey plot. Here's a case where reality definitely trumps fiction.
  • James Hitchcock21 July 2010
    Fear, Paranoia and Patriotism
    Warning: Spoilers
    The British cinema produced so many war films in the forties, fifties and sixties that one might have thought that the supply of suitable subjects would have dried up, and indeed such films have, since around 1970, not been as popular as they once were. Film-makers do, however, occasionally succeed in finding new wartime subjects, and "Enigma" is one such example. It is a fictitious account of the work of the British code-breakers based at Bletchley Park. The story is set in March 1943 when the Battle of the Atlantic was at its height and the key priority for the code-breakers was to crack the "shark" cipher used by the German Navy to communicate with its U-Boats. (The title derives from the Enigma machines used by the Nazis to encode messages).

    The main character is cryptanalyst Tom Jericho, a brilliant but eccentric Cambridge mathematician loosely based on Alan Turing. As the film opens, Jericho is returning to Bletchley Park after recovering from a nervous breakdown caused by overwork and an unhappy love affair. Jericho's former lover Claire has mysteriously gone missing, and he enlists the help of her housemate Hester to try and track her down. In the course of their search they discover that she was responsible for the theft of classified documents and begin to suspect that she might have been working for the Germans.

    The film has been criticised on two counts. One is that it does not mention Turing's vital work in cracking the code, replacing him with the fictional Jericho. This may have been down to financial considerations; Turing was gay whereas Jericho is heterosexual, and the filmmakers may have felt that a film with a gay hero would not do well at the box-office. On the other hand, they may simply have wanted to remain faithful to Robert Harris' source novel. The other commonly voiced criticism was of the storyline in which the real traitor turns out to be a Pole who is betraying Allied military secrets to the Nazis because of anger over the Katyn massacre in which his brother died. This also struck me as an unlikely development; the German occupation of Poland was so brutal that no Pole, however great his resentment of Stalin, would have been likely to have collaborated with the Nazis. In actual fact, there were no known German agents working at Bletchley Park; the only spy there was the notorious John Cairncross, one of the Cambridge spy ring, who was working for the Soviet Union, not Germany.

    Dougray Scott is good as Jericho, a seedy, slightly unbalanced genius, and Jeremy Northam is also good as the suave but sinister upper-class MI5 agent Wigram. This is not, however, really one of Kate Winslet's better films, and she seems miscast as the plain, dowdy bluestocking Hester. She may have taken the role under the influence of the belief, common in the early 2000s, that a physically attractive actress will not be taken seriously in her profession unless she has made at least one film in which she plays a physically unattractive character. (See also Charlize Theron in "Monster" or Nicole Kidman in "The Hours").

    The plot, as is usual with spy thrillers, is a highly complex one, and at times difficult to follow. Tom Stoppard, who wrote the screenplay, may be one of Britain's greatest playwrights, but I find that his talents often work better in the theatre than in the cinema. "Enigma" does, however, succeed in conveying a good sense of the atmosphere of wartime Britain, a mixture of fear, paranoia about the enemy and patriotic enthusiasm. 6/10
  • Karan Bhambri10 June 2010
    Wonderful movie but not a thriller it could have been
    Recently came across this movie when it was being shown in sony pix. Got hooked immediately. The lead couple played by Kate Winslet and Dougray Scott provide excellent acting in a well written movie honoring the code breakers of Enigma. The setting is of Bletchley and the scenery in the movie is quite beautiful. Dougray as the mathematician plays the role perfectly as the genius gone crazy over a blonde. Kate Winslet (wears glasses, which is funny) provides excellent support. The security officer also provides good support and rest of the cast reflects the English of 1940's. Although the movie is great on acting and other fronts,the thrill in the story is little less. A more of a thinking based movie rather than pure thriller.
  • mason_61220 September 2009
    Good Movie, but could have been so much better
    Warning: Spoilers
    I am very familiar with this story, as my mother-in-law worked at Bletchley Park as a cypher assistant during WW2. A fact she never revealed to us until 1990, as she respected the Official Secrets Act to the letter. I read Harris book about 2 years ago, and finally watched the movie this week. The real story of Alan Touring, and his colleagues at Bletchley, the building of "the bombes" and the critical role they played is a very compelling story in itself, and had the writers of this movie confined themselves to that, this movie would have been superb. Instead we got a load of the usual Hollywood claptrap of romantic sub-plots with Claire, and dead spy chasing rubbish. We are to believe that during the most critical stage of the U-boat war, and the massive effort to re-establish Shark, that the key man Jericho/Touring went chasing all over Scotland , to track down a traitorous ex-girlfriend. Lots of spare petrol in those days ( NOT). This undermined great performances from Dougray Scott who played the brooding , sullen and exhausted Touring, to perfection, and Kate Winslett, also Jeremy Northam .

    Still worth watching for their performances alone.
  • bmh201031 August 2009
    Why tell the story of a great achievement and leave out the main hero?
    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:
  • ianlouisiana1 June 2009
    A Confederation of Swots..They also serve who sit at desks.......................
    Warning: Spoilers
    Ask a sailor on the Atlantic Convoys whether he would rather be sitting in a warm,dry and safe office crunching numbers and doing crosswords back in England and I imagine the answer,if printable at all,would be resoundingly positive.My sympathy for the poor beleaguered mathmoes and misfits,weirdoes and space cadets who made up the battalions of Codebreakers is strictly limited.I'm not saying they didn't do an essential job,I'm just saying they should have got on with it without any prima donna - type whingeing and flouncing in and out of doors in a huff.There are people dying out there - get a grip. Our hero codebreaker Tom Jericho(Mr Dougray Scott) is a typical unworldly Cambridge Man who can't take rejection and is slaughtered when posh totty Claire( Miss Saffron Burrows)dumps him.Recalled from the Funny Farm when the German Navy changes it's Code,he has red eyes,stubble and downturned lips,just so you know he is really upset.To add to his woes,Claire has gone missing and the Secret Service(Mr Jeremy Northam,smooth as a young Nigel Patrick)suspects she may be a spy,therefore he is tainted with guilt by association. The Germans uncover the Katyn Forest atrocity - perpetrated by our gallant allies the Russians during their occupation of Poland - and the Codebreakers pass the information on but the Government keeps it under wraps for fear of upsetting good old Uncle Joe Stalin.(In reality,the Russians had done everything they could do frame the Germans for the massacre,including using German firearms.It wasn't until 45 years after the war ended that the "enlightened" President Gorbachev admitted his country's guilt,by which time their grip on Eastern Europe had loosened). With Miss Kate Winslet - done up like a plump Lettice Leaf - as Claire's erstwhile chum,Mr Scott sets off to find her and crack the new German Code in one single bound. There is amusing Old Sea Dog nonsense from Mr Corin Redgrave who has some of the best Tom Stoppard dialogue. But generally,"Enigma" is a pretty routine 1950s British World War Two movie brought up to date with a smidgen of sex and a smattering of bad language.The "romance" between Mr Scott and Miss Winslet must have developed while I blinked an eye and his change from wimpish drama queen to testosterone - fuelled hero at the end is just a tad unconvincing. Fifty years earlier,Mr Dirk Bogarde and Miss Virginia Mckenna would have made a much better job of it.
  • jc-osms20 April 2009
    Just mad about Saffron...
    Not being familiar with the source novel but obviously aware of the involvement of industry heavy-weights like Tom Stoppard and Michael Apted, it was reasonable to expect that the satisfaction from this particular movie would be more cerebral rather than visceral. And what's wrong with that, to paraphrase Mr McCartney? That said, the movie has a density at its core which is hard to penetrate and is promulgated by a too-complicated plot and probably just too much dialogue.

    There's much to admire though, particularly in the cinematography and acting stakes. For the former, period is convincingly recreated, not least with some wonderful old cars running around country roads and especially with the massive code-breaking construct inside Bletchley, a juggernaut of dozens of clicking dials. I liked the acting too and even if Dougray Scott's accent sometimes drifts north from its supposed Yorkshire moorings, he displays no little range in depicting the damaged "genius" of the piece, this in the movie immediately following his pumped up appearance as a super-criminal in "MI2". Kate Winslet is also good, no air-brushing or Titanic ball-gowns here as she frumps up effectively as the "don't fancy yours much" friend of the captivatingly pretty Saffron Burrows' Clare who ensnares Scott's Tom Jericho in her machinations. Jeremy Northam is also fine as the smooth, double-talking investigator at Scott and Winslet's heels.

    On the debit side, the plot really is quite impenetrable with more convolutions than a convolution machine and which had my head spinning pretty well as much as the dials on the tracking equipment at Bletchley, but then it's well known that Mr Stoppard likes a puzzle or two. I'm all for keeping the audience hanging on every word but there are so many of them here that it's difficult to properly weigh up their significance in the context of the narrative. The few action set-pieces on board seem too detached from their surroundings to really engage and often seem like drop-ins, while the Scott/Winslet relationship seems to blossom unconvincingly from nowhere at all.

    However, it's fair to say, in conclusion, that this period thriller, while successfully recalling the depth and feel of British war-movies of the 50's, doesn't quite transcend that achievement and seems to lack fulfilment as a cinematic entertainment. That said, just how do you successfully dramatise as mundane and unglamorous a profession as code-breaking, so that overall, I'm bound to say this was a noble attempt and more than likely a film that will repay repeat viewings, to more satisfyingly uncover the myriad layers at its centre.
  • Leszek513 January 2009
    Falsification of history
    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 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.
  • beckett-1510 January 2009
    This movie distorts the facts much in the spirit of totalitarian (Soviet, Nazi) propaganda. Thumbs down.
    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.
  • MadBomber25 April 2008
    Excellent throwback to spy films of the forties
    An excellent period piece out of England. It is well into the war (WW 2 for those that don't know), and all is not going well. There is a fragile coalition of countries fighting the Nazi regime. But there is something sinister; a secret so damning, that the release of such information will spell disaster for the allied forces. Out in the countryside of Northern Britan, a young brainiac seeks to recover from a "summer romance", but his mental disorder from the disastrous end to that fling threatens to ruin him once again, as he desperately seeks the woman that loved and left him. A nice little mystery, with a tinge of historical fact thrown in as a nice backdrop. The cast is wonderful in how they play their roles to period. Not just costumed and modern, but giving a real feel for the mannerisms of the time. This is a nice throwback to the films of the forties, the serious ones mind you, dealing with Nazi spies, propaganda, and the brink of disaster for the Allied forces. Why can't more movies be made like this.
  • disdressed127 April 2008
    i found the book riveting,the movie--not so much
    after watching this movie,i was a bit disappointed.i mean,the movie was OK,but it doesn't compare to the book,which i found riveting.the movie is set During WWII,and is basically about the British code breakers who were continually trying to break the code of the Enigma machine,which is how the Germans communicated with each other.there is some fine acting here,by Dougray Scott,Kate Winslet,Saffron Burrows and Jeremy Northam,and many others.there a few moments of tension and suspense,but mostly the movie is all about the drama.there is also a love story angle here.this is not some big Hollywood blockbuster version of events.this is a small,independent is based on true events,and i believe it is probably fairly's taken from the book by Robert Harris.i highly recommend the book,but if you read it first you,will likely be disappointed in the vote for Enigma:5/10
  • llj25611 December 2007
    Very Good
    This is an enjoyable movie with great twists and turns. Dougray Scott's performance as a mentally unstable, yet brilliant government top dog takes the cake. Winslet also shines as his partner in crime, trying to find out the whereabouts of the woman whom broke his heart, yet also may be more than whom initially seems as a playful government bureaucrat. It is definitely a different twist for her, as she she did this post Titanic, and demonstrates that she will not be typecast a young beautiful woman. The film slows in some areas, yet by the end, we get a clear picture of how the various pieces fit together and form a unified piece. I would definitely recommend that those who have the opportunity see this film!
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