Enigma | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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As a longtime fan of Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow, which begins with British code breakers during World War II, I'm a sucker for the romantic and paranoid atmosphere of this thriller on the same subject, adapted by Tom Stoppard from the novel by Robert Harris. Production designer John Beard has a field day, his period re-creation so rich you can taste it, and the fine cast includes Dougray Scott (who suggests a young James Mason), Kate Winslet, Jeremy Northam, and Saffron Burrows (though she's chiefly used as a glamorous icon). The film has other old-fashioned virtues as well: director Michael Apted's intelligent and creative application of Hitchcock (the romantic obsession of Vertigo, some of the mechanics of the early English thrillers) is in a different class from Brian De Palma's literal applications. The two main producers make an interesting team--Lorne Michaels and Mick Jagger, who, if I'm not mistaken, turns up as a fleeting extra in one of the flashbacks. In 'Scope; 117 min. Landmark's Century Centre.

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