I have to agree with the other reviewers. This film is so bad, I really don't know what to say. I didn't get to the end of it so I can't comment on that. However, the dialogue is appalling, the narrative disclosure technique so clumsy it defies belief (when the student meets the grandmother/granddaughter characters and, through their bickering we learn their life story in 5 minutes flat - clunky), and the character development? Yeesh - after ten minutes the granddaughter character says: "but I thought we were friends" - ha.
I agree with Jet; the only point in watching this movie lies in its comedy value. It really is that appalling. I paid £3.50 on our cable service and we stopped watching half way. I was so incredulous that the next day I wanted to return and finish watching, just in curiosity to see if it could get worse, but alas, the 24 hr period of our rental had expired. There's no way I was paying again to reaffirm my first impression.
Nic Young (Unverified), 10/11/08
I started watching this film after four pints and I have to admit that five or six would have been better. It seems that whoever made the film believes in bad screenplay writing and also has no real idea of the geography of Oxford. On a more positive note, the director obviously has a good sense of humour as the acting is pure comedy and even John Hurt seems determined to join in and have some fun as a bombastic academic. Elijah Wood's eyes do a great acting job though it must be said, especially when he comes in close contact with the two females of the film, but even then the spaghetti scene which is already mentioned is not very long and the spaghetti seems somewhat undercooked, matching the film itself.
Cosmo (Unverified), 16/07/08
I don't think I've ever asked for my money back at a cinema, but this film prompted me to do so. What can I say? It is absolutely awful. There's nothing, absolutely nothing good about this film, not the acting, not the botched-up setting, and certainly not the script. What a shame...
NB. If you want your money back, make sure you leave at the begnning of the film - the manager told me that if I had left after about 10-15 min, he would have refunded the admission price!
Extremely disappointed (Unverified), 19/05/08
A complete waste of time and money. I only went to see it because it was set in Oxford. Terrible dialogue, acting and plot. Elijah Wood was especially bad; he was great in Happy Feet and OK in Lord of the Rings but he just can't portray a HUMAN in a realistic manner!
Only worth seeing if you are very drunk.
Stondis (Unverified), 15/05/08
Hilarious! Was it supposed to be?? A bit sick in the places where it wasn't hilarious (is this supposed to make the viewer feel guilty?). Terrible acting, with the notable exception of a fine performance by the spaghetti.....
Barney McGrew (Unverified), 12/05/08
At the risk of surprising you. This is the must see movie of the May Bank Holiday, particularly for anyone with an Oxford connection or who enjoys the clichéd nature of the English Morse type murder mystery or the spurious plot twists of the Da Vinci Code.
The secret to enjoying this film is to realise that it is consistently extremely funny. I could not help cheering when the old lady was found dead in her armchair playing scrabble on her own. Nor laughing out loud at the bizarre foreign room-mate with an almost incomprehensible, apparently dubbed, accent, and his calibanesque clumsiness. Matched by the hunchbacked bar man in the compulsory pub scene. The sex with spaghetti is a classic.
If the slightly noir scene of murdering the disabled children is not quite as amusing, it is certainly surreal and the final plot twist that the secret to the plot is that there never was one is just great.
So sneak some beer into the cinema this weekend and enjoy one of the best movies to mock intentionally or otherwise the over-clichéd Oxford Murder Mystery.
Jet Black (Unverified), 30/04/08
Rumours of this film's demise have been greatly exaggerated.
While there are certainly stylistic and even technical blunders, this is an enjoyable piece of hokum which tips a knowing wink to Agatha Christie via Dorothy L. Sayers. The mathematical and philosophical content is delivered with plenty of undemanding exposition and there are enough plot twists to keep any fan of murder mysteries guessing till the end.
John Hurt gives a grandstanding, bombastic turn as the ascerbic genius maths professor, counterpointed with Elijah Wood's lower-key performance as his would-be post-grad disciple. Both struggle to decipher clues to a series of murders. Watching the by-play of this oddball pairing is half the fun, as Hurt's wily old wolf runs rings round Wood's eager pup. Leonor Watling as Elijah's lusty and enigmatic love interest is easy on the eye and a foil for her student lover's intellectual obsession.
This fantasy Oxford is a gloomy and outlandish place. Seen through the prism of Spanish horror director Alex De La Inglesia, grotesqueries abound, and every supporting actor is a wilful caricature. The plot is heavily laced with irony and the audience is invited along for the ride - there is even a pointed discussion of Cluedo, just to tip off anyone who came in late!
Okay, so it's not Atonement or even Indiana Jones. But it's a perfectly acceptable way to spend a wet Saturday afternoon. Especially if you like spaghetti.
Bonbon (Unverified), 30/04/08
With all the coherence, entertainment value, and artistic merit of a sub-par episode of Midsomer Murders, this has absolutely no place in the cinema. There are about five pages of trans-continental funding credits in the opening titles, always a bad portent, and the film goes on to tick all the boxes of compromised Europudding. A script that sounds as though English was the author's third language? Check. European actors with heavy accents filling roles for no intrinsic reason? Check. Use of heritage locations to lend a spurious air of class? Check… Most of the cast speak the dialogue with such lack of conviction that it looks as though they have been dubbed. It is almost worth watching for unintentional comedy value, and indeed the film was treated with raucous derision when I saw it, but it is just as likely to inspire profound depression. You have been warned.
Young Offender (Unverified), 28/04/08
Replete with mathematical and philosophical concepts that could confound the uninitiated, The Oxford Murders is, nonetheless, an old-fashioned murder mystery at heart. The film is a more or less faithful screen adaptation of Argentine writer Guillermo Martínez’s book by the same name. Set in a picturesque Oxford, which is in turns familiar and unfamiliar, the plot centres on attempts by a university don-student duo – played by the excellent John Hurt and less absorbing Elijah Wood, respectively – to solve a series of murders. Cryptic symbols left behind as clues seem to point to a serial killer obsessed with mathematical logic and trying to test John Hurt’s Oxford don, an authority on the subject. The mystery, when solved with the inevitable twist typical of the genre, cuts deeper in the end to a less intellectual and more mundane motive.
While it somewhat stereotypes the University and falls short of being electrifying, the film is crafted well enough and delivers entertainment. It draws the viewer into trying to solve the whodunnit and stay a step ahead of the protagonists on screen. Barring a few mercifully brief exceptions, the dialogue avoids verbosity and abstract digressions from the main plot, which is not difficult to follow. Its more cerebral content is presented in light debates between tutor and student, and in layman’s explanations for the police detectives. The romance between Elijah Wood’s student and a Spanish nurse (played by the actress Leonor Watling) is of the conventional variety, while mild comic relief is provided by some of the supporting cast. All in all, the film offers something for almost everyone.
Ellen (DI User), 28/04/08
From the leaden, patronising introduction of Alan Turing during a first scene so dire it made me regret sitting in the middle of a row, it's obvious that something bad is going to happen in the next hour or two.
The first victim is Plausibility, which is simply outnumbered by the malign forces ranged against it by both Plot and Script. I feel sorry for Plausibility. I want the UN to send some troops in to help it out, but Acting is also getting a proper shoeing. Perhaps it was weakened by a session with the Script picadors, now giggling in corners as Acting slowly figures out that the gift it's been given is, in actual fact, a sow's ear. Faced with this challenge, Elijah Wood is appalling, but it's like he's been asked to corral a flock of cats using a hamster and a kazoo.
The best things about this film are Lorna the nurse's breasts. She has a surprisingly nice arse too. That's what this tripe reduced me to. Perving. Finally, and inevitably, Oxford's topology is needlessly berked about with: exiting the White Horse takes Hurt and Wood approximately to the pavement outside the Oxford Story, for instance. But I suppose that sort of thing is just What Happens. Along with stupid touches like a yokelly flower seller under Hertford's bridge.
I would rather have used my money to buy a 'how to make films' book and given it to the first child I saw, on the off-chance that a quantity theory of film deals might see whoever made this one pushed out of the game. If that sounds a bit harsh then I'm sorry. But if you choose to go and see this tripe please, for pity's sake, sit on the end of a row.
Toes (Unverified), 27/04/08
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