Comfortable and Furious

Enigma (2001)

I object to the movie Enigma on intellectual grounds. Specifically, that it is Hollywood revisionism at its worst to make a movie about British code-crackers and not mention Alan Turning. I almost even liked the movie a whole lot. The performances were very solid and the costuming/sets were really good, too. In fact, there was nothing glaringly wrong with Enigma per say, except for one big ass thing: nothing in the history of the whole God damned world is a more interesting story than what actually happened during World War II ! Nothing. Enigma uses WWII as a backdrop to tell instead a psuedo-detective who-done-it tale. Don’t get me wrong, you can have wonderful historical fiction centered around WWII, like the great Das Boot.

Of course you can always go the other direction and make drek. See U-571. [Ed Note: Drek is Yiddish for baby-spit up/crap. Jonny is some sort of Jew] Of course, it could backfire altogether, like Pearl Harbor, a movie so insulting and banal that Jerry Bruckheimer should be shot. My point is, you don’t have to make Patton when you set out to do a WWII flick. But, as hard as Enigma tried, somewhere in the back of my head there was a little Patton-like voice saying, “Who fucking cares? There’s a whole world at war!”

Here’s what happens in Enigma, so you know. Tom Jericho, a brilliant but troubled mathematician is working at Bletchley Park with other giant nerds round the clock to crack the German Enigma code. The Nazis thought this code to be unbreakable. The movie doesn’t mention it, but when Nazi high commanders were told that the Allies must have cracked the code because of an ambush or what have you, the German commanders would declare nonsense and have someone shot. Why did the Nazis have such a chip on their collective shoulders? Because, before the invention of computers, Enigma was an uncrackable code. Our hero Jericho, is credited with not only cracking Enigma, but also with inventing the computer that made it possible.

I know what you are thinking, because I was thinking the same thing. Specifically, “Mother fuck these stupid punk ass motherfuckers for not mentioning Alan Turing!!! What, because he was gay you had to replace him with a fictional character? You’re telling me you can’t sell an Alan Turing movie to a studio even though he personally did more to end WWII than any other person? Asshole!!” More on that in a second.

Tom Jericho goes crazy at one point, not because of the Germans or anything, but because of Saffron Burrows. Burrows’s character, Claire Romilly is blonde, hot and possibly a Nazi traitor. Or at least they want you to think so. Look at her last name. They may as well have named her Claire Hitlery. [Ed Note: The Desert Fox, Irwin Rommel was a famous Nazi/Free Mason] Anyhow, her and Jericho start dating and she tries to steal some top-secret stuff, although Claire makes it look as if she is just playing around, and Jericho tells her to give the stuff back and they wrestle and then she rejects him and then he goes nuts and gets sent off to Cambridge to recoup.

However, the Nazis change their codes up and Jericho is needed back at Bletchley because of this huge American convoy that needs to be protected and there is this Soviet massacre [Ed Note: The Katyn Massacre: Stalin’s goons pop 4,000 Polish officers in the back of their heads. Officially denied until 1990-ish] that is being covered up and somehow Kate Winslet gets involved and they evade the government and Claire turns out to be a British spy and then they destroy a U-Boat. Pretty good stuff, if not for the fact that real story would have been so much better…

Again, Enigma is a well-made and well-acted movie (though the quality of the film transfer to DVD is quite suspect). I only wonder why you would choose to make up an inferior story, when history books are literally littered with not only much more interesting stories, but true ones. Did you know that Alan Turning was so convinced that the Nazis were going to win the war that he took his entire fortune which was valued at 200,000 pounds sterling, converted it to silver bullion and buried it somewhere around Bletchley Park? Not only that, “Turing’s Gold” as it is called has never been found. Still, to this day. You wouldn’t know that from watching Enigma, especially because they don’t even mention poor Alan’s name. Shame.

Ruthless Ratings:

  • Overall: 6
  • Direction: 6
  • Acting: 7
  • Story: 5
  • DVD Quality: 2
  • Re-watchability: 4

Special Ruthless Ratings:

  • Number of times you couldn’t believe they left Turing out of the story: 67
  • Number of times Douglas Hofstadter would roll over in his grave if he were dead: 32
  • Number of times you thought Saffron Burrows was pretty damn hot: 12
  • Number of times you thought she was hotter in Deep Blue Sea: 9
  • Number of times you thought Kate Winslet was pretty hot: 10
  • Number of times you thought she was hotter in Quills: 54
  • Number of times you were a little weirded out that Mick Jagger produced Enigma: 5
  • Number of times you wished you were Mick Jagger: 1