Ed Driscoll


Saw Enigma last night, a film completed in 2001, but only released in the US this year. It was produced by Mick Jagger, and Lorne Michaels (he of Saturday Night Live, Wayne’s World and Tommy Boy fame), written by Tom Stoppard (based on a novel by Robert Harris) and directed by Michael Apted, who not only has excellent chops as a director, he’s used to working with temperamental pseudo-intellectual rock stars.

All kidding aside, it was a pretty good film, if not a great one (I would have preferred more on how the Enigma machines were actually cracked and slightly less of the romantic subplot), and highly recommended to anyone who prefers their heroes to have more brains than muscle. Frankly, I had forgotten the Robert Harris connection, until after the film, when the plot started giving me serious Fatherland flashbacks–both have similar structures–one man and one woman working together against the system, and uncovering a deeply hidden secret that could change the war effort.

I also get the feeling that Harris is either a closet conservative, or at least sympathetic to a conservative view of history–he really seems to enjoy sticking it to the Soviet Union–which needless to say, is just fine with me. And his books are gripping enough to convince HBO to back a brilliant retelling of the evils of detente, and Mick Jagger to produce a film on the dangers of communism. And Enigma is also just slightly more accurate in its history of the German’s Enigma code machine and its capture by the Allies than U-571 (although that’s not saying much), and its “big secret” is more subtle than Fatherland’s but just as potentially huge in its implications–and as much as the Enigma’s producers tried to slap a happy ending on it, for anyone who thinks, it’s impossible not to consider how “the big secret” could have changed history, especially at Yalta.

Oh, and guys–Saffron Borrows is rampantly babelicious, and Kate Winslet is also pretty darn cute–although she looked like a zaftig clone of Rachel Wiesz in this film.

Enigma is playing at our local art house, and possibly yours as well, but don’t let that put you off–this is a pretty good way to spend a couple of hours.