November 1993. Elijah Wood (“Lord of the Rings”) plays Martin, an American student at Oxford University – a big fish out of water in a strange pond. Martin knows one thing for sure though, he wants Arthur Seldom (John Hurt) as his thesis director. Seldom has a brilliant mind and is considered one of the leading lights in logical thinking.
In a public lecture, Seldom quotes Wittgenstein‘s Tractatus to deny the possibility of truth. Martin contests by asserting his faith in the mathematics under reality. Later, Martin and Seldom coincide and attempt to reconcile their apparent differences. This impromptu meet however leads both men to discover Martin‘s landlady (also a friend of Seldom‘s) brutally murdered. Seldom declares to the police that he had received a note with his friend‘s address marked as “the first of a series”. As Seldom is an authority on logical series, he suspects that a serial murderer is defying his intelligence – murdering his friends one–by–one in an apparent attack on the professor. Martin, Seldom and Lorna (Leonor Watling), a Spanish nurse, will try to guess the following terms of the series as the murders continue.