PRODUCED AND ABANDONDED
A great idea.
Elijah Wood and John Hurt investigate a murder which takes place on the august campus of Oxford University. Throw in two sirens, Leonor Watling and Julie Cox, and once again the Clue ends up on celluloid . . . or pixels. Will a producer and director FINALLY figure out how to make a compelling version of the board game?
Wood is Martin, an American professional student, who is accepted into Oxford's mathematics Ph'D program. Hurt is Arthur Seldom, a professor emeritus, and the object of Elijah's pursuit of an advisor for his thesis.
Wood (Martin is his character) rents a room in a gothic residence (Hah!) in Oxford. The landlady, Mrs. Eagleton, played by the reliable Anna Massey, ends up in the obligatory Victorian chair, room temperature. Her body is discovered by Martin and Seldom, who have collided at a lecture hall and become fast friends, in an unfriendly way.
As per the usual murder mystery in the old musty mansion trope, the killer is obvious. Which means the obvious killer is a red herring.
The film devolves into a collection of drawing room scenes with bad dialogue. Even the seduction of Martin by the ultra-sexy Lorna (Leonor Watling) is a stilted rumble with breaks in the action for even more bad dialogue. There are only two interesting things about their love making, Lorna's left breast and her right breast.
The main issue with The Oxford Murders is the death of the landlady is a ho-hum affair of a forced connection with the man who cracked the enigma machine, Alan Turing. That plot point electrified the movie for about ten seconds. After that The Oxford Murders is a predictable mish-mash of Oscar Wilde WannaBe exchanges between Seldom and Martin, who bore the viewer as they turn a thirty minute comedy streaming series episode into 100 minutes of ennui.
If not for Watling's rack, nothing will keep you interested in The Oxford Murders.