This movie could not be more open about its contents. Aptly titled The Oxford Murders, this who-done-it murder mystery is a decent movie. However, I was expecting much more from Spanish director Alex de la Iglesia, who made some of the strangest and likable European movies like Acción mutante, El día de la bestia and Perdita Durango. Based on a novel written by Argentine mathematician and writer Guillermo Martínez, this is an average thriller. It could have been something much more, but pretty one-dimensional characters and performances by almost everyone apart from fantastic John Hurt prevented from becoming the next big thing in who-done-it movies. I cannot help but remember The Clue from 1985, starring Tim Curry, a movie that managed to be both engaging and entertaining although it was based on a board game. This feels like a knock-off version of some Dan Brown’s book (did someone mention Da Vinci Code or Angles & Demons), although the writer of this particular book actually has a PhD in mathematical logic. After all this trashing, it’s time for some good news: the pacing is pretty good and movie is definitely worth watching.
Martin is a very ambitious mathematician, making all the way from United States to the prestigious university of Oxford. There, he wants to work under one his idols, an aging but still very sharp professor Arthur Seldom. As all professors, Seldom is brash and pompous, especially in class, so Martin’s attempts to impress him have failed. Losing on all fronts, Martin luckily meets up with Lorna, a handsome girl he met while playing squash. Finally thinking that his life is getting better, the two of them discover his landlords dead body and the game begins…
In case you like mathematics and murder mysteries, you will be thrilled with The Oxford Murders. For the rest of us, this is a onetime stop that we will enjoy in. Cinematography was pretty good with really rich color palette. This helped create that suspense that you have to have in these types of movies. Combined with that good pacing that I already mentioned, it creates a decent atmosphere where the story is just flowing and you’re waiting for the next clue, trying to figure out who the killer is. I almost forgot, also there’s the perfect amount of nudity and a yummy Leonor Watling, so there is something for everybody. Enjoy.
Director: Álex de la Iglesia
Cast: Elijah Wood, John Hurt, Leonor Watling, Julie Cox
Fun Stuff: Michael Caine was approached by director Álex de la Iglesia to play the leading role. Jeremy Irons was also considered for this part that, ultimately, went to John Hurt.