Enigma (2001)

Enigma (2001), directed by Michael Apted.

The Ultra code-breaking effort of WW2 is fascinating in part because it was not revealed until decades after the end of the war. We had to rethink the history we thought we knew. The confluence of secrets, spies, deceptions, mathematics and proto-computer technology is irresistible.

This fictional war-time spy thriller is set at Bletchley Park, but we have no sign of Alan Turing. Instead:

Many other familiar faces, including a good part for Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, later Jaime Lannister, the Kingslayer in Game of Thrones.

It is an intricate tale with a lot very accurate code-breaking exposition, but we also have to trace the love triangles and human deceptions. I think I have it worked out by the end but some questions are not answered.

On the Enigma machine used in the film, per the wikipedia:


The film was produced by Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones. Jagger makes a cameo appearance as an RAF officer at a dance. He also lent the film's design department a four-rotor Enigma encoding machine he owned to ensure the historical accuracy of one of the props.

We also see the Bombe racks used to find the secret keys, very accurate although quite neat and clean looking. I think the drums spun faster than shown here.

It's not all frustrated passion and spy hunting: we also see the convoys under attack in the Atlantic, the agony of those who wait and can do nothing about it. Also the dilemma of wartime diplomacy: what to do when your allies are villains?

The Katyn massacre was a real event.

Based on Enigma by Robert Harris, screenplay by Tom Stoppard. I think the movie jazzes up the action, but it has been a long time.

John Barry gives one of his wonderful seductive scores.

My thumbnails are from a German region B Blu-ray with a rather fine image. There are small amounts of on-screen German lettering at the beginning and end. No English subtitles but text versions are available online.

I recall the North American DVD as being pretty sad quality. No sign of a region A Blu-ray.