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EnigmaThis is the movie adaption of the novel by Robert Harris , author of the alternate universe novel Fatherland. Dougray Scott [ Mission Impossible 2 ] plays a mentally unstable code-breaking genius akin to Alan Turing. He is called back to Bletchley Park code-breaking centre, a month after he was sent away in disgrace.
Saffron Burrows plays Scott's ex-GF who drove him to a nervous breakdown. She is in many senses the enigma of the title, now disappeared without trace in mysterious circumstances. Kate Winslett , Burrows' flat-mate, teams up with Scott to discover the truth. Jeremy Northam [ The Net ] is the centre's MI5 security boss, intent on covering up a series of messages intercepted from a German unit in the Ukraine ...
The backdrop to the conspiracy thriller story is the tense situation in the decoding centre, where the code-breakers race against time to outwit the German Navy.
Director Michael Apted manages to deliver the opposite of the film A.I. - it was a slow script that was well-directed, while this is a promising script somehow made boring. There is a car chase, fist fights and so on ... but no excitement.
Jeepers CreepersThis film was written and directed by Victor Salva , whose only previous big film is Powder . The trailer proclaims that critics have hailed it The best U.S. Horror film in the last ten years. Of course, when you look closer you notice that the reviewer in question is Ain't It Cool News, but you really shouldn't let that put you off.
The film starts slowly enough. A pair of twenty-somethings, Derek and Trish [ Gina Philips ], are driving home from college along deserted country roads. In a break from the cliche they aren't the typical smooching couple, but brother and sister. The long introduction features great dialogue and characterisation that really fleshes them out. We care about these kids, which is what really matters when bad things start to happen.
They are nearly run off the road by a maniac in a big sinister gothic-looking blacked-out truck. Later they see the truck parked outside an old abandoned church, and the masked driver is throwing corpse-like objects into a huge pipe. He sees them, and starts to give chase again ...
So far the film has given us intense realism combined with a Scream -type post-modernism. However, the film does tend to go down-hill once you discover they aren't up against a human serial killer but the Creeper, a big rubbery demon. Actually the prosthetics are excellent, and it's quite refreshing to see a change from the unconvincing CGI that most directors choose to use these days.
By American standards this is a low-budget film, with a budget of merely ten million dollars. Put simply that means they have a small cast of talented people, rather than wasting an extra ten million dollars on a big-name star.
The real problem is that the supernatural element has been over-used. This is the only cliche that Salva has failed to adequately re-work, and it stands out quite badly in an otherwise quite excellent film.
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