June 17, 2013

The Bletchley Circle: Cracking a Killer's Code (2012)
PBS Home Video

135 mins. · Not Rated
16x9 · 1.78:1

Format
Blu-Ray

Audio
English - DD 2.0

Subtitles
English

Extras



Review by
Guido Henkel


Rating



(2012)

PBS Home Entertainment sent over one of their television productions on Blu-Ray for review, and knowing that the network is consistently producing and importing high quality content, I was definitely interested in checking it out.

During the Second World War, one of the key efforts of England's government lay in the field of cryptography. It was imperative for the country to be able to read and intercept German messages to know, countermeasure and sabotage German war efforts and a potential invasion of British soil. Therefore, in the city of Bletchley, code breakers are stationed, doing their best to decypher German codes. It is work only the smartest and most analytically-minded people can do, and among the best of them is a small circle of women, who one day manage to intercept and decode a message that allowed the Allied Forces to prevent the invasion of the British Isles.

Once the war is over, the talent of these women goes unrecognized, however, as they lead regular lives as wives and housemakers, bartenders and librarians. However, when the police is unable to find a maniacal serial killer, who kidnaps, kills and rapes young women, it is the analytical mind of these women from Bletchley that kicks in, and the four of them begin their own investigation of the case. What they find is not only getting more and more disturbing, it also puts them right in the killer's way. The only way to stop the madman is to get one step ahead of him, but to do so, the women look back and find the exact point in time when it all started so they can then decode the trail the killer has been leaving all along.

Despite is post-World War II setting in England, "The Bletchley Circle" is an incredibly dark three-part thriller that is of the highest order and does not have to shy away from comparisons with films such as "The Silence of the Lambs." The film oozes menace and affronts the viewer with the serial killers' vicious murders and the violation of his victims. Every step of the way, the past of the killer is shrouded in secrecy and he leaves breadcrumbs and false clues all along, stringing the police along.

The film wonderfully captures the world of post-war England, depressed, bombed-out and impoverished, but of the firm belief to pick itself up and make a better future. At the same time, the film dives into the emotions of the people, their fears and the anguish and the horrors they have witnessed.

The film is presented in a great-looking 1080p high definition transfer that is entirely without blemishes. The image is sharp and filled with detail and the colors have a muted quality to them to conjure up the somber atmosphere of the era. In combination with the clean audio presentation, this TV movie is extremely effective and shines on this high definition release.

As an extra, the disc also includes interviews with the cast and crew members as they discuss their characters and the making of the film.

I truly enjoyed "The Bletchley Circle" and could not stop watching it in one sitting. It is marvelously cast, wonderfully plotted and magnificently ominous and thrilling. You should definitely give this one a try.

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