Mystery, logic, emotion, sensuality: all in this engaging film

Directed by Álex de la Iglesia - 2008 - Spain, UK - 108 min

The Oxford Murders

2021 September 16 | by Arduino Mancini Asking questions - Critical thinking - Cryme and Thriller

The film (based on the homonymous novel by Guillermo Martínez) is set in Oxford and tells the story of Martin, a young mathematics student from the United States who arrives in the English city to meet Professor Arthur Seldom, for whom he has great admiration.

He aims to propose to the professor a topic for his doctoral research, which he would of course like to prepare under his guidance.

The first contact between Martin and Seldom takes place in a university auditorium, where the professor is presenting his latest book to the students.

The focus of the presentation is on the questions Wittgenstein asked himself:

  • Can we know the truth?
  • Is it possible to have absolute certainty about something?

To conclude that “there is nothing we can say about what we do not know”.

Martin does not share this conviction and asks questions that the professor ridicules in public; and while the young man, disappointed, wonders about the opportunity to work with Seldom on his research, the death of the old lady hosting him changes the situation completely.

Arthur Seldom is an old friend of the elderly lady. Martin and the professor find themselves beside each other both in the discovery of the body and in the investigation that follows.

But over the next few days, more murders occur: people are known to both the student and the professor, and both end up being suspected by the police.

I won’t say any more about the plot: now watch the trailer, then I’ll give you some good reasons to see the film.



How to watch the film

The story is compelling and capable of satisfying the most demanding audience; a thriller in which each emerging element refers to another and, at least in part, conflicts with it.

Mystery, logic, emotions, self-view, sensuality and personal choices are integrated into a well-balanced story that succeeds in not falling into the trap of intellectualism.

The continuous discussion between Martin and Professor Seldom and the investigation they conduct together offers an admirable example of how the search for truth can take the form of philosophical speculation, and how the perception of reality can become a tool to deception.

Yes, because the film makes it evident that the analysis of any situation, apart from the facts, can only be subjective, entirely personal; and that a broad vision cannot ignore the different points of view.

A must!


Elijah Wood, John Hurt, Leonor Watling, Julie Cox

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