Sleuth

Sleuth

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Sleuth Reviews

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bbcfloridabound
bbcfloridabound

Super Reviewer

January 21, 2014
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
Christian C

Super Reviewer

May 23, 2013
Not as good as the original, but if you never saw that, it's got some twists worth seeing. Doubt this film will hit Branagh's resume.
Al S

Super Reviewer

January 14, 2008
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.
Lady D

Super Reviewer

December 4, 2007
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.
Anthony L

Super Reviewer

November 22, 2010
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.
hunterjt13
hunterjt13

Super Reviewer

November 2, 2010
I came into this movie quite skeptical. After all, the original film was quite good, but its goodness was based on its surprises. Ergo, I reasoned, the same story would fail to surprise me and consequently fail to be good. But that reasoning underestimates the abilities of Harold Pinter, he of the pregnant pause, one of the best playwrights of the twentieth century. Pinter re-worked the script and made it his own, and the new Sleuth surpasses the old. Wyke goes from a rather dangerous eccentric to a sadistic psychopath, and Tindle goes from a handsome though quick-witted playboy to a bisexual male whore. And these interesting changes say nothing about the moments in between, the actors who fill the silence with sharp characterizations or mesmerizing stillness.
The film does suffer from an almost-too-busy set design, and at the end of the day, while this may seem like a contradiction, there truly is only so much even a writer as skilled as Pinter can do with this material.
Overall, this is worth an hour and a half of your time, especially if you saw the original.
Ross C

Super Reviewer

March 20, 2009
Two actors, one set; a classic stage production movie. However, for such a movie to work it needs top quality acting and a witty, sharp dialogue. This has neither. I've not seen a film with so many quotes that are memorable for being so bad in a long time.
Conner R

Super Reviewer

January 7, 2010
I actually found this to be a great movie even though it was unable to have the surprises of the original. The acting is what really made this a notch above Kenneth Brannagh's other play adaptions. The production value was also great from what I've come to expect from his work. Jude Law and Michael Caine were perfect together and you couldn't ask for better tension.
sanjurosamurai
sanjurosamurai

Super Reviewer

December 6, 2007
this is a film that cant be described, it has to be seen. michael caine's performance is great as usual. the cinematography is very unusual but i absolutely loved it, and the diologue was very clever, which it had to be because the film is driven by its diologue. the end of the film gets a little silly and uncomfortable, but it is really interesting. caine and jude law are the only characters in the film and the entire film takes place in a single house, but the film still carries well at most points. not great, but different enough that any film buff should take a chance on it.
Pierluigi P

Super Reviewer

October 14, 2007
Lately, Jude Law has had the nasty habit of remaking wonderful films starring the legendary Michael Caine (the americanised version of "Alfie" was first) Well, this is as unnecessary and terribly dull as his previous failed emulation.
It not only boasts of its famous costars (having the original Milo Tindle yes, Michael Caine, but this time he's the one filling Laurence Olivier's shoes as the eloquent and misanthropic novelist Andrew Wyke) but also a screenplay by Harold Pinter and (a flat) direction by Kenneth Branagh.
Absolutely zero charm and wit compared to the original.
Chris G

Super Reviewer

December 7, 2008
Jude Law continues his Michael Caine re-make tour (the Jaws: The Revenge joke still stands) in this story about a hairdresser/actor (Law) who is called to the house of a wealthy man (Michael Caine) to discuss the loss of his wife to this other man. What at first seems like a simple talk about the transition of loving turns into an intense psychological chess game between the two men.

Sleuth is a film that is full of dead ends. You think you're going one way but are actually just getting stopped and turned around to start over again. Even in the end you're waiting for that row of bushes to turn you on your way. Very few films have achieved confinement (Hitchcock was the master of it), but Sleuth makes this big, cold house feel like a techno-tomb that these to men will compete to the death in.

I really didn't care for Jude Law in this film. His acting was way over the top and befitted a 1930's pirate serial. Maybe if he did something original... Michael Caine is brilliant as usual and really pulls this film out of the remake muck that it is. He's brilliant in his role.

A word of warning: this is a remake and my appetite is we to see how that film ran with Caine in Law's role and Laurence Olivier in Caine's role. This sounds like a superior film. This version is just Caine giving Law acting lessons.
maxthesax
maxthesax

Super Reviewer

November 17, 2008
such a high pedigree, and while there are certainly moments here, the 3rd act is a mish-mashed disaster; of course most viewers have probably already given up caring by this point.

Such an odd set doesn't help matters; in fact it almost becomes the star of the movie, a universe in which the players simply revolve around and interact within.

Branagh as director uses all the techno gadgets to reasonably good effect, shooting scenes as seen from within the security system; but the addition of all the surveilance cameras ends up begging the question - with the entire affair being taped (even with judicious editing by Caine), how can anyone possibly think that either charactor was going to get away with their deadly cat and mouse game? I guess that's what happens when you try to update a classic - you end up with unexplained plot points that weren't even in the original.

I also must add that while perhaps the gay angle was a shocker in the 70's (though I don't remember it as such), in today's jaded world it doesn't register more than a tired yawn; an ambiguity to be glossed over as just another twist in the game the two protagonists are playing.
Megan S

Super Reviewer

September 26, 2008
It was okay. I am interested to see the first so I can see how Michael Caine plays Milo. The set and camera shots were interesting but as of right now I think it works better as a play.
Stefanie C

Super Reviewer

July 20, 2008
i am a huge fan of pinter, so i liked his screen play adaptation. caine is typically remarkable (creepily so here). jude law stands up well. interesting direction by brannagh. love the claustrophobia of the single setting. homoerotica abounds!
Drew S

Super Reviewer

July 22, 2008
In Susan Sontag's awesome essay "Notes on Camp", she makes the suggestion that camp is born when the execution of something fails to meet its ambitions. If you choose to agree with this, Sleuth is an absolutely perfect example of it.

Consider first its source material. The original Sleuth, which in itself was an adaptation of a play, was highly literate and a little bit stuffy but incredibly clever nonetheless. This makes many of the same bids at intelligence while excising that stuffiness, but when it deviates from the original movie, it fails horrifically. The last twenty minutes, for instance, are new: a psychosexual pissing contest that tries to be mentally probing but just ends up laughable and vaguely smutty instead. It's like Basic Instinct's gay leftovers. And just like Basic Instinct, this is trash masquerading as brilliance, living under the impression that being dialogue-driven automatically lends it intellectual credibility. The result is something you feel a little embarrassed for as you watch.

But the movie isn't unwatchable - it's just very different and enjoyable on a separate level from the original Sleuth. The set design is neat, opting for a sort of technological utopia versus the eerie toyhouse of the first movie. There's something very interesting about the directorial decisions Kenneth Branagh makes: he rarely films the actors face-on. There are a multitude of above-the-head shots, or shots via surveillance cameras, or shots interlaced by blinds. Michael Caine and Jude Law rarely appear in the frame together. I wasn't really sure why he was playing around with the cinematography so much, until I read a review that suggested he was trying to meta the whole movie. Remind us that it was a big theatrical mess. I totally understand that, because there are a few bits of dialogue that sort of take the piss out of the whole thing.

As for the participants themselves...Michael Caine, playing the role he played against in the first movie, is obviously having a good time. There's a lot for him to do here: he gets to be devious, arrogant, bemused, terrified, lovelorn, gayyy, murderous. It's an overly theatrical dream! Jude Law can't really match stride, and I get the feeling he was taking the whole thing more seriously, but damn if he isn't bangin'. His hair is gross-looking and he weighs about 90 pounds soaking wet, but I would nail that. He kind of fits in with the lurid trampiness of the whole affair. So I forgive him his diminished understanding.

Anyway, Sleuth is a really big but entirely entertaining mess. I understand why it didn't get much of a theatrical run, because there's no audience for this kind of movie. Still, I imagine it'll get rediscovered ten years from now by people who are looking for ignored "clash of the movie stars!!!" flicks that are full of camp sensibilities. Sleuth does a great job filling those shoes.
aSpaceCowboy
aSpaceCowboy

Super Reviewer

May 27, 2008
It's really not that great of a movie. First off: It's a remake. Second: it went against what the original provided. Just cause it's modern day doesn't mean you need to show it off. They took advantage of electronics basically just destroying the original. It it was going to be remade, it could've at least been set in the same decade. The whole "game" aspect wasn't played out very well. Why people think Michael Caine was such a psycho in that... I'll never know. Jude Law was the true psycho. I knew it the second he took off his disguise. The ending was disappointing. Was it a blank or a bullet? I'm assuming blank because of how it startles him. Maybe he was frightened and fell off down the elevator. I'm only saying that because was no blood. By the end of it all, neither of them seemed to care about Maggie.
LorenzoVonMatterhorn
LorenzoVonMatterhorn

Super Reviewer

June 5, 2008
-CONTAINS SPOILERS-

Sleuth (whatever that means) is actually a remake of a 1972 film of the same name which also starred Michael Caine. Its about two guys who tries to outsmart each other by playing games and the backdrop is a Georgian manor in some secluded area.

The only thing that really stood out here (I'm having a hard time with the plot, what's up with those guys?) are the performances of both actors, Caine and Law. Michael Caine's performance shook me to the bone. I didn't know he was that intense if given a really good dialogue and on the other hand Law's performance is menacing. His intensity matches Caine's sometimes its hard to identify who's the better actor between the two.

As I said, I'm having a hard time understanding what's really happening and I think what happened in the film is unlikely to happen in real life. If you want to kill a guy who screws your wife, just go over to him and shoot him in the head point blank. Not play games with him and then shoot him afterwards, its just preposterous.

Caine and Law's performances did it for me so its a 3.
Roy G

Super Reviewer

May 5, 2008
Caine and Law rustle up a spicy chemistry which sustains a sizzle for an hour or so.
Stephen M

Super Reviewer

March 3, 2008
The first time I watched this, I'm not embarrassed to say, I just didn't get it at all. Being a huge fan of the Anthony Shaffer/Joseph L. Mankiewicz version, all I noticed -- through my tears, and between sighs -- were Harold Pinter's drastic alterations and the frosty overall tone. "Surely there's enough misery in the world," I told my cat, "without necessitating the surgical removal of every ounce of pleasure from two hours of delightfully witty entertainment." The cat concurred: "CCTV and homoerotic overtones are no substitute for good, old-fashioned belly laughs. Meow!"

It was only when I watched it a second time that I realised there are more good things than bad on offer, and I began to appreciate Pinter's novel tinkering with the character relationships. For instance, Andrew Wyke's (Michael Caine's) adulterous spouse is now an old man's trophy wife, rather than a toy boy's meal ticket. More interesting still, Pinter turns the love-triangle completely on its head, leaving the woman out in the cold, for a time at least.

The use of CCTV to internalise the outside world is ingenious, but it creates a glaring problem that the script fails to address: prospective burglar Milo Tindle (Jude Law) doesn't think to ask Wyke about the ubiquitous cameras, and strangely but conveniently, Detective Inspector Black never asks to see any surveillance footage of Tindle's visit. The 1972 "Sleuth" was a fascinating summit meeting of two very different acting schools; the 2007 version is more David versus Goliath than a clash of titans, and Jude Law definitely forgot to bring his slingshot. Seemingly aware that he is being acted off the screen, Law overplays to the hilt. Caine, however, is brilliant.
MANUGINO
MANUGINO

Super Reviewer

December 15, 2007
A very talented movie, I had a feeling it was a remake and I was right. The movie plays all kinds of games on you and leaves you thinking, was I right? Very good performances from both actors.
On his sprawling country estate, an aging writer matches wits with the struggling actor who has stolen his wife's heart.
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