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Sleuth (2007)



Average Rating: 5.1/10
Reviews Counted: 119
Fresh: 43 | Rotten: 76

Sleuth is so obvious and coarse, rather than suspenseful and action-packed, that it does nothing to improve on the original version


Average Rating: 4.9/10
Critic Reviews: 35
Fresh: 10 | Rotten: 25

Sleuth is so obvious and coarse, rather than suspenseful and action-packed, that it does nothing to improve on the original version



liked it
Average Rating: 3.2/5
User Ratings: 20,744

My Rating

Movie Info

The Anthony Shaffer play originally brought to the screen in 1972 gets the remake treatment in this updating that finds Michael Caine stepping into the role of the brilliant thriller writer portrayed by Laurence Olivier in the original, and Jude Law following in Caine's footsteps as the young hairdresser who steals the literary giant's wife, only to find himself subsequently swallowed up in an elaborate revenge scheme. Kenneth Branagh directs a script adapted from Shaffer's original play by


Mystery & Suspense

Harold Pinter

Mar 11, 2008


Sony Pictures Classics - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (126) | Top Critics (37) | Fresh (43) | Rotten (76) | DVD (12)

Director Kenneth Branagh has mercifully pared the action down to 88 minutes (the first movie dragged on for 138), but the final act... still seems to go on forever.

December 14, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Kenneth Branagh's direction, its self-consciously skewed angles and surveillance-cam cutaways highlighting his weakness for the misplaced flourish, is more of a hindrance than a help.

November 21, 2007 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Director Kenneth Branagh clearly is having fun navigating Tim Harvey's slick set design, but eventually the characters' deadly competitiveness becomes tedious.

November 16, 2007
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It doesnt work, and the reasons why are no mystery, no mystery at all.

November 9, 2007 Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This film wants only to entertain, and other talents have gathered with Pinter to help.

November 7, 2007 Full Review Source: The New Republic
The New Republic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It sounds so promising. It plays so disappointing.

November 2, 2007 Full Review Source: Detroit News
Detroit News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It requires a light touch; I admire Branagh a great deal, but not for his light touch.

August 14, 2009 Full Review Source: Film Freak Central
Film Freak Central

Idly plotted then tempered by a blunt ending. All of a sudden the viewer is left pondering 'eh?' as Pinter apparently run out of room on his pad.

June 26, 2009 Full Review Source: Clothes on Film | Comment (1)
Clothes on Film

Pinter's pauses, and the dour air of so much of the interplay, just don't fit on a story that's this slight.

May 1, 2008 Full Review Source: MSNBC

Once the homosexual subtext is brought to the surface, everything seems to be a joke. Are they gay, kidding, or just considering?

April 10, 2008 Full Review Source: PopMatters

Fans of the original should stay away.

March 19, 2008 Full Review Source: At the Movies (Australia)
At the Movies (Australia)

The script includes a verbal motif that reminds us of what binds the film's four central talents together: 'I want to show you something.' [Blu-Ray review]

March 10, 2008
Groucho Reviews

What this Sleuth lacks in enthusiasm it makes up in character-driven menace.

March 4, 2008 Full Review Source:

Despite Branagh's every attempt to capitalise on the intimacy of the cinematic medium with (intrusive) close-ups, the direction is heavy handed; the result being a dramatic, but emotionally cold experience

March 1, 2008 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

Goofy art house tendencies (including an ill-thought dalliance with homo-eroticism) trigger a few giggles, yet the clever, crisply-acted power struggle seizes your attention

February 22, 2008 Full Review Source: I.E. Weekly
I.E. Weekly

What Pinter and Branagh present is a much more wicked, cold, disturbing film that is even more confined than the original.

December 12, 2007 Full Review Source: Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Seems to me that the Kenneth Branagh-Harold Pinter Sleuth is a pretty good movie. It just isn't a very good Sleuth, exactly.

December 7, 2007 Full Review Source: Charlotte Observer
Charlotte Observer

By the time the film ends on a flat note, it is long past the point of failing to effectively showcase a meeting of minds between two great actors.

December 1, 2007 Full Review Source: Las Vegas CityLife

Whether you like the film probably depends on whether you can treat it all as seriously as Pinter and Branagh. If you can't, this short, brackish piece will not work at all, even if you don't regard it as a piece of piss.

November 23, 2007 Full Review Source: This is London
This is London

A Dead Film Walking, a zombie of a film, a shuffling Frankenstein's monster of a film, leaking electricity from its badly-fitting neck bolts, tragically whimpering at the pointless agony of its own brief existence.

November 23, 2007 Full Review Source: Guardian [UK]
Guardian [UK]

Message to Jude: You have more chance of convincingly concealing that receding hairline than becoming the new Michael Caine. Stop trying to be something you are not - a charismatic actor.

November 23, 2007 Full Review Source: Sun Online
Sun Online

This is the kind of intimate physicality that Pinter pumps into Shaffer's script. But it will take a better director than Branagh to tease it into the real world.

November 23, 2007 Full Review Source: Times [UK]
Times [UK]

Directed by Kenneth Branagh and scripted by no less than Harold Pinter, the wicked charm of Sleuth Mk1 has been stripped away to leave a nasty, dispiriting and strangely cold psychological thriller.

November 23, 2007 Full Review Source: Daily Mirror [UK]
Daily Mirror [UK]

A bold, initially fascinating but ultimately misguided attempt to 'Pinter-ize' an old-fashioned puzzle. Great mysteries leave their audience marveling 'how did they do that?' Sleuth 2007 leaves you scratching your head, wondering why they bothered.

November 23, 2007 Full Review Source: Film4

Caine and Law rustle up a spicy chemistry which sustains a sizzle for an hour or so. But the second half panders to Pinter's self-indulgence, unravelling Branagh's high-tensile head-fuck as a hollow skirmish.

November 23, 2007 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

Audience Reviews for Sleuth

I personally found Sluth difficult to watch. And that is strange because it has two very fine actors playing the major rolls, never the less this film left me feeling very hollow once I had finally forced myself to the end. Perhaps it was the environment, I find "modern" house architecture total nonsense so watching an entire film set in this kind of environment very difficult.
Also I have very fond memories of the 1975 version that was set in a castle I believe and had far more atmosphere than this film. The film was also very predictable hardly straying from the original in story so there were no real surprises when it all came down to it. Who ever decided to set this in a modern "artsy" house should be boxed behind the ears, it ruined the entire film. 1 Star 12-19-13
January 21, 2014
Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer

A riveting and dazzling film. A masterful, intelligent and tremendously tense cat and mouse thriller. It`s a hypnotic, stylish and superbly acted masterpiece. An intense, frequently witty and shattering screenplay by Harold Pinter. Director, Kenneth Branagh creates a solid and electrifying masterwork. It keeps you on the edge of your seat no problem all the way to the end. Michael Caine and Jude Law are an outstanding tour de force. They give amazing performances, showing different and great styles of their acting and in their character development. Some truly brilliant and unforgettable acting from Law and Caine. Wonderful work from two great actors of two different generations and a great writer and director. It`s a knockout that's just as frightening as it is entertaining.
December 5, 2012

Super Reviewer

Here's a film to divide audiences - Michael Caine and Jude Law in a dialogue fuelled film Directed by Keneth Branagh.

A mind game about control, one upmanship, love, money and lonliness. A low budget flick that holds your attention throughout and you will certainly have a love it or hate it feeling come the end.
August 5, 2011

Super Reviewer

I've not seen the original, so I watched the 2007 version of Sleuth with clear judgement and an open mind. First off, Pinter's script is brilliant, he's a love or hate writer and I'm very much in the love camp. Caine is good in his role, I can't wait to see how he compares to Olivier's portrayal of Andrew Wyke though. Jude Law is good in places but I found his performance to be up and down, the whole detective chapter was a little iffy but he can't be held solely responsible for that. Branagh's direction is also a little hit and miss but generally it's hit. I hated the set though (apart from the Anthony Gormley daaaarling) I'm looking forward to catching up with the original now, the 2007 version is ok but I'm expecting better.
November 22, 2010

Super Reviewer

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