The Oxford Murders

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Ultimately this clever little mystery/suspense rises above its script and ham-handed directing, but only barely. It isn’t much better than a solid TV movie despite the intricate plot and talented cast.

Wood (Maniac) and Hurt (seriously, how do you pick just one or two of his?) play off of each other well enough, if a bit stilted. And Watling (Unconsious) does her best to become the fulcrum around which the relationships pivot. Despite their best efforts, though, it is the detail and mystery keep the momentum going, not the acting. And that, with this cast, is a huge shame.

On the script side, part of the issue may simply be that writer/director Iglesia’s first language isn’t English. It is the the stilted aspect of the word choices that clunk just enough to disturb the smooth ride. The plot itself is well structured and thought through; not a surprise given his passion for crime stories. I would hope he’d find a translator who could smooth out his text next time. The ideas and talent are there, but the words were really getting in the way for the actors and the audience.

Oxford certainly isn’t a waste of your time, but neither is it one you should make a special effort to see given its flaws. When you’re at loose ends and want some entertainment, this will fill the bill nicely.

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