Monday, November 8, 2010

Oxford Murders (2008)

I'm beginning a week of films connected to World War One. I'm cheating at the start since today's first film only has an opening scene set in the trenches. The scene has to do with Wittgenstein solving philosophical problems as bullets whiz around him, the rest of the film has nothing to do with it. Its a cheat but it does allow me to tell you about a really good mystery.

The film really concerns Elijah Wood as a transfer student at Oxford. He wants to meet and learn from a great professor played by John Hurt. The initial meeting doesn't go right and Wood decides to chuck it all go home. But fate has a other plans and soon this unlikely pair are thrown together when a series of murders begin to happen around Oxford with the killer leaving symbols behind...

I like this film. Its not the greatest thing since sliced bread but it is a great deal of fun. One of the things I like is that the great cast that is clearly having a good time. Watching Wood and Hurt play a de facto Holmes and Watson is a a blast.

The mystery, which delves into the world of philosophy and mathematics, is nicely twisty. While the films discussions of deep manners are great for stretching the gray cells they aren't really necessary to be followed for solving the murder. Where it ends up is nicely keeping with the films repeated discussions of the nature of reality.

Don't get me wrong, even with the deeper discussions of reality, this is a fluffy trifle. Its sort of a paperback mystery that you'd pick up on a long bus trip. Its the sort of thing you read, enjoy and then put aside as you see something else.

When you want a trifle, see this film. It will make you ponder the nature of reality, and keep you hoping with a the best thing of all, a really mysterious mystery.

I saw this on pay per view in connection with its recent US theatrical release. It should be on DVD soon and is worth a look see.

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