cover art for Enigma

Enigma

2001
CD: Decca 467 864-2

  1. Main Title (3:41)
  2. Where Does one Pee? (1:21)
  3. Police Chase (1:16)
  4. The Quarry (2:50)
  5. Tom Explains Enigma (1:23)
  6. Is That What Happened? (4:25)
  7. Wigram Arrives (1:39)
  8. The Convoy (5:36)
  9. Waiting for Signals (2:46)
  10. Tom Goes to Cottage (1:26)
  11. She Moved On (2:06)
  12. Simply Wonderful / Finding Crib (1:53)
  13. Trip to Beaumanor (:59)
  14. The Train (2:40)
  15. Goodbye to Hester (3:00)
  16. Puck Dies (1:17)
  17. London 1946 (2:26)
  18. End Credits (4:58)
  19. The Black Bottom (2:54) [DeSylva/Brown/Henderson]
  20. You'll Never Know (3:23) [Warren]
  21. Dives & Lazarus (2:49) [Vaughan Williams]

The Movie

I'm luke-warm on the film. Dougray Scott is a brilliant mathematician who broke codes for Bletchley Park during World War II. Then he met and fell hard for bombshell Saffron Burrows, and had a breakdown when she rejected him. Now Saffron is gone, Dougray returns to find himself skating on very thin ice--his boss hates him, he's obsessed with Saffron, the police are bugging him because she's missing, her friend Kate Winslet fears he'll get them both thrown in prison as spies, and oh yes, the Germans are using a new code and if Dougray Scott doesn't break it, the German wolfpacks will cut Britain's convoy lifeline to North America.

It's an old-style thriller--written much the way many Brits wrote thrillers in the 50's and 60's--where the protagonist has to unravel the mystery and explains to the Doctor Watsons of the world (e.g. the audience) what happened after the chase, when everyone's sitting around having tea (or dredging rivers, in this case). It's beautifully photographed and designed. Barry's music sets the somber tone and keeps it rooted there. Kate Winslet is wonderfully dowdy and lets just enough suggestion of beauty show through without going through the actual transformation that often happens in these things--girl starts out frumpy at the beginning when we're supposed to be looking at Saffron; and then suddenly her hair hair gets curly and her clothes fit better later on when we're supposed to notice her. This movie stays consistent.

What bothered me were two things--first the Agatha Christie-style construction that I talked about earlier, and the modern acting fashion of having everyone speak barely above a whisper so that the dialog gets lost in the music and the sound effects. With most movies and their inane dialog, this may be a boon. But with a complicated plot like this, it's important to actually here what people say. Yet to do so means I have to turn the volume on the tv up so loud that the china rattles in the cupboard shelves when they suddenly cut to a loud noise.

I am glad I saw it--but it was a see-once movie for me.


The Music

Here's an unpleasant thought--this may end up being Barry's last musical score for a movie that actually got released. As I write this (Summer of 2004), all of Barry's subsequent film projects have fallen through.

Engima is very much in the modern style--if you enjoyed his recent work, particularly Eternal Echoes, I think you'll find this to be more of the same. The music is very somber, dark, and moody. It is rich and full but heavy. Not the sort of thing to play on a mid-summer's day. But it works with the film and, in the right circumstances, works on the album.

Unlike Eternal Echoes, however, I find out Enigma to be very much a singular experience. If you don't like the main theme, you're stuck because you're going to hear it a lot. But if you enjoy it--then sit back and revel in it.


Release Notes

Not much to say here. Only the original CD release. It's too new to be showing up on compilations.


Links

Decca's Home Page for JB

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