Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The Oxford Murders (2008)

Director: Alex de la Iglesia
Starring: Elijah Wood, John Hurt, Leonor Watling, Julie Cox, Jim Carter, Alex Cox, Burn Gorman, Dominique Pinon, Anna Massey, Danny Sapani

When American Martin (Wood) travels to England to serve under the tutelage of his hero Arthur Seldom (Hurt), he doesn't expect what greets him. To get that little bit closer, he moves in with Seldom's eccentric, elderly friend Mrs. Eagleton (Massey) and her sociopath daughter Beath (Cox). When the pair find Mrs. Eagleton murdered, they set out together to find the person responsible. So, is it the fancied local nurse? Or the father looking after his cancer ridden daughter? Or the strange roommate from campus? Or is the killer one of them?

As Seldom says himself, the murderer is never the person we first suspect under the circumstances and in this heavy-dialogue driven murder mystery you will never guess where it is going. Adventurous, witty and cleverly adapted from Argentine writer Guillermo Martinez's novel of the same name is really the film The DaVinci Code should have been.

At times it feels more intelligent for some to keep up with and the performances are more theatrical they need to be, especially Cox's Beth who is over-reactive and really annoying. Downton Abbey's Carter is wonderful as Inspector Peterson, as is the always welcome Massey (Frenzy). It's better than it looks and plays in the fashion as Nicholas Roeg's classic Don't Look Now, with a similar atmosphere and vision.

3.5/5

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