Critics Consensus

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



Total Count: 121


Audience Score

User Ratings: 20,935
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Movie Info

The updated story of a wealthy writer of detective stories, and an aspiring yet out-of-work actor who is having an affair with the writer's wife. The writer's exquisitely modernized Georgian manor becomes the backdrop for a cat and mouse game that pits one creative mind against another.

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Critic Reviews for Sleuth

All Critics (121) | Top Critics (41)

  • 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

    Feb 22, 2008 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Dec 14, 2007 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Nov 23, 2007 | Rating: 3/5
  • 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.

    Nov 23, 2007 | Rating: 1/5 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Nov 23, 2007 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • No amount of visual flourish, sadly, can compensate for the woeful lack of chemistry between the leads or arch dialogue that sounds more like a Pinter parody than the man himself.

    Nov 23, 2007 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

    Neil Smith
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Sleuth

  • Jan 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
    Bruce B 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.
    Christian C Super Reviewer
  • Nov 02, 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 <i>Sleuth</i> 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.
    Jim H Super Reviewer
  • Sep 11, 2010
    Not very entertaining. The twist in the plot are un-suspenseful. You keep waiting for the plot to become interesting and it never does. It feels like watching a bad summer play.
    Bill C Super Reviewer

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