I decided to see the film The Oxford Murders because I loved the idea of “Frodo” being a graduate student in logic. By Frodo, I mean the actor Elijah Wood, who is very believable as a math student.
At the core of the movie are sequences of numbers and symbols. When the characters started a discussion about how to continue a sequence, I immediately tensed up. Why? Because when people ask what the next element in the sequence is, I get ready to confront them, by explaining that there are many ways to continue a sequence. For example, the sequence — 1, 2, 4 — could be powers of two, or could be Tribonacci numbers, or any of 10,000 sequences that the Online Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences spills out if you plug in 1, 2, 4. That is, if we do not count the infinity of sequences that are not in the Encyclopedia.
To my surprise and relief, the logic Professor, one of the main characters in the movie, explained that there is no unique way to continue a sequence. From that moment on, I relaxed and fell in love with the movie.
The movie is a detective story with a lot of twists and turns. The crimes are related to symbols. The first two symbols are in the picture below. Can you guess the next symbol?
I cannot. There is an irony in the film at this point, because the Professor and the student need to guess the sequence in order to solve the crimes. But the Professor has already explained that there is no unique way to continue. So illogical for a movie about logic.
And what’s worse, the sequence of symbols they finally discover doesn’t make sense. I guess I fell in love with this movie too quickly.Share: