Despite its old-fashioned moral compass and tendency to disguise hugh chunks of unwieldy World War II exposition as dialogue, this docudrama manages to entertain on the strength of its plucky heroine, haunting femme fatale, and aura of innocence lost. Kate Winslet, glammed down and hiding behind spectacles, is the mystery-obsessed gal Friday for whom it's impossible not to root. Saffron Burrows, in a series of alluring flashbacks, is the real enigma haunting tortured mathematical genius/hero Dougray Scott. The sexual tension between Winslet's Hester Wallace and Scott's Tom Jericho is strictly pro forma, as is the eventual whodunit denouement. In-between, though, there are fascinating glimpses of cryptological history, plenty of period detail, and enough tweed-garbed mucking around in the English countryside to fill an entire PBS miniseries. Ultimately, veteran director Michael Apted's picture is an absurd anachronism, but one that holds onto the strength of its convictions, resulting in a watchable enough piece of historical fluff.
by Brian J. Dillard review