Two extremely clever British men are in a game of trickery and deceit. Andrew Wyke, an aging famous author who lives alone in a high-tech mansion, after his wife Maggie has left him for a younger man and Milo Tindle, an aspiring actor, equipped with charm and wit, who demonstrates both qualities once again. When Wyke invites Tindle to his mansion, Tindle seeks to convince the former into letting his wife go by signing the divorce paper. However, Wyke seems far more interested in playing mind games with his wifes new lover, and lures him into a series of actions he thoroughly planned in seeking revenge on his unfaithful spouse.
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The real culprit, dear Watson, is playwright Harold Pinter, contracted here for a baroque rewrite of Shaffer's original dialogue. The result. Is one. Of unbearable artifice. Throughout. The entire film. Some puzzles just give you a headache.
As a stand-alone movie, this might be worth 1.5 stars; as a remake of the original movie it's worth zero. The original (with Laurence Olivier and Michael Caine) is hands down one of the very best movies ever made! If you've seen it, you might want to see this one just once out of curiosity, but don't bother buying it. If you've never seen either version, do yourself a huge favor and try to get a copy of the original!
It is a remake of an older film with Laurence Olivier and MichaelCaine. I will not compare the two because I have only seen excerptsfrom the first one.This film has no real suspense because we know at once what it is allabout. The interest of the film is in the two actors and how they buildtheir confrontation in a super-minimalist set. The only sophisticationis the lighting or the lights if you prefer. But the value of thesechanging lights is to make you, the audience, lose your footing and itworks.What about the two actors and their playing, acting, gaming or hunting,titillating appeal and anti-appeal? It is OK here and you will believethe devilish turn-around, turn-about and hairpin spinning in thesituation. But then we can wonder what the film is all about. Does itrepresent in anyway anything but that kind of expertise on the side ofthe actors to lure us with something that is so obvious that any avidreader of thrillers and pulp fiction knows ahead of time what iscoming? We know for example the detective is no detective and we knowhe has to be the young man of before in a way or another because heknows too much and the way he is dressed is sloppy. Not typical of evena village detective in England with rural herds.Too bad because Michael Caine had managed to dominate and control hisLondon accent, but Jude Law had some kind of slurpy (just the properword since he plays a gay-gay game later on: "gettin head. when a girlorally pleases you. it involves suckin and is messy if not donecorrectly, hints the name," as the urban dictionary says) accent whentrying to be a detective that he was not. Only partially convincing.The London accent is a lot more melodious and musical than that.Entertaining but maybe not enjoyable.Dr Jacques COULARDEAU
Sleuth remains an effective display of acting, with enough twists and turns to satisfy the newcomers and avoid insulting the faithful.
If you enjoy a movie told "by the camera" then this has to be the movieof the year. This entire movie takes place inside of a single housewith two characters. The house itself becomes a third character throughthe lens of the camera with some of the most beautiful cinematographyand lighting one could imaging for interiors without it being soobvious that it does not feel natural.Of course you have two great Actors and a very talented Director but Iwant to give credit to the camera and lighting department for bringingso much life to the emotional and visual side of the film. This is sooverlooked in most films and seems to be a dying art in all but thehighest budget epic films.
As you have probably heard, this is a trick movie. It will require anabandonment of credibility in order to entertain you with theextraordinary skills of two great actors; to make sense of it; and toforce you to go along with the artifice. The reward is a treat to twoof the best, with cinematography, art direction, production design andmusic equally accomplished. Don't go along with it and it falls intothe realm of the absurd.A man appears at the front door of a country mansion, having driventhrough the estate under the observation of the occupant andstrategically placed security cameras along the drive. The visitoridentifies himself as Milo Tindle (Jude Law) to the owner of the manseAndrew Wyke (Michael Caine) who, after a little palaver at the door,invites him in. The interior is cement bunker gray with lighting andinterior design of extreme and expensive modernism. A one-storyelevator is audaciously positioned in the center of the main room.Wyke, after impressing Tindle with his success as a book author and thescintillating breadth of his mind, offers a drink. Milo chooses Scotch,a glass of which just happens to have already been poured into a glassas though divined beforehand. After comparing relative superiorities ofcharm and accomplishment, Tindle gets down to the business that broughthim here, to wit, the request for an agreeable and immediate divorcefrom his wife, who is now Milo's lover and who asked him, Tindle, tomake the request.Wyke comes up with a proposal. Tindle is to "steal" a million dollarnecklace from Wyke's safe, hock it in Amsterdam for a pre-arranged$800,000, and live happily ever after with enough money to treat hisspoiled woman to the comforts and standard of living she's becomeaccustomed to. As for Wyke, well he's got the insurance money, ofcourse.This, of course, is met with great suspicion but, through the means ofclever dialogue by a master of the English language, we accept thatTindle accepts, and is subsequently guided through the entire escapade-- from gaining entrance through a skylight, descending by a hiddenmetal ladder and coercing the owner to give up the combination to thesafe. Halfway through Wyke's staging of the break-in, however, he pullsa gun, and reveals that all of the foregoing has been a battle of witswith a romantic rival, and a potentially lethal game in which justicewill prevail. No, there is to be no $800,000 payoff after all. Wyke maybe a forlorn husband but he's no altruistic idiot. It's an author'sscenario, devised on the spot and customized for his detested, veryappealing competitor for his wife's affections.To instill fear into his subject, Wyke shoots his gun twice, at photosof him and his wife, raising Tindle's fear level. Wyke then forces hiscaptive to open the safe and remove the necklace, which is everythingit is purported to be: a tastefully beautiful, luxurious piece of art.Wyke shoots again, this time directly at the supposed thief.Alerted by a report of a missing person, a constable appears at Wyke'sdoor three days later, a visit for which Wyke is totally unprepared.The encounter is uncomfortable. The rich man isn't entirely able todefend himself against the plainclothes officer's proposition thatthere could have been a sordid crime carried out on his premises. Hisnervousness turns to desperation and fear as the policeman presents hissuspicions and makes his case.This is Agatha Christie by way of playwright Anthony Shaffer, thenceJoseph I. Mankiewicz's subsequent 1972 film adaptation with Caine (asTindle) and Laurence Olivier and, now, renewed for modern audiences,re-adapted by Harold Pinter ("The Trial") and director Kenneth Branagh("The Magic Flute").There are as many holes of plausibility in the plot as there arediamonds on that necklace, so if you're a literal type, this wouldn'tbe for you. But violation of reality isn't what it's about. Instead,it's a showcase of talent, a scintillating demonstration of the stateof the art in all the disciplines previously stated. Pinter, the manmost responsible, constantly chooses his corners to paint himself intoand to escape out of. It's all highly stylish and stylistically clever,but you're never allowed to forget that it begs the viewer'scollaboration. You're in an ether between a stage play's suspension ofdisbelief and film realism.Jude Law pulls out all the wily charm and craft that are thedistinctive trademarks of one of the most resourceful actors of ourgeneration, clearly on display from "The Talented Mr. Ripley" to "Roadto Perdition" to "AI: Artificial Intelligence" to "Alfie." Caine, onthe other hand, reaches, in moments, a level of concentrated dangerthat we've rarely seen. Watch for how his lingering intensity after heshoots Tindle conveys, internally, the satisfaction of a plancompleted, contempt fulfilled. This latter day performance of one hegave so long ago (as the young visitor) would make for a stimulatingcomparison of a great actor's development. The experience might be bestif you get the DVD before you catch this version in a theater. And,BTW, the Mankiewicz version has a larger cast.~~ Jules Brenner
I saw sleuth when it came to Dallas in November. I loved it. Both Jude and Michael are giving one of their best performances to date. The dialoge between these two men is very intelligent. I am not into revenge myself however, it plays very closely to how this would actually play out if it happened in real life. I am also a big Harold Pinter fan. I can not wait for the dvd to be released on March 11,2008.
Harold Pinter rewrites Anthony Schaeffer's classic play about a mangoing to visit the husband of his lover and having it all go sideways.The original film starred Laurence Olivier and Michael Caine. Caine hasthe Olivier role in this version and he's paired with Jude Law. Herethe film is directed by Kenneth Branaugh.The acting is spectacular. Both Caine and Law are gangbusters in theirrespective roles. I really like the chemistry and the clashing ofpersonalities. It's wonderful and enough of a reason to watch when thescript's direction goes haywire.Harold Pinter's dialog is crisp and sharp and often very witty and Iunderstand why he was chosen to rewrite the play (which is updated tomake use of surveillance cameras and the like).The problem is that howthe script moves the characters around is awful. Michale Caine walksLaw through his odd modern house with sliding doors and panels for noreally good reason. Conversations happen repeatedly in differentlocations. I know Pinter has done that in his plays, but in this caseit becomes tedious. Why do we need to have the pair go over and overand over the fact that Law is sleeping with Caine's wife? It would beokay if at some point Law said enough we've done this, but he doesn'the acts as if each time is the first time. The script also doesn't moveCaine through his manipulation of Law all that well. To begin with he'sblindly angry to start so he has no chance to turn around and scareus.(Never mind a late in the game revelation that makes you wonder whyhe bothered) In the original we never suspected what was up. here we doand while it gives an edge it also somehow feels false since its soclear we are forced to wonder why Law's Milo doesn't see he's being setup. There are a few other instances but to say more would give away toomuch.Thinking about the film in retrospect I think its a film of missedopportunities and missteps. The opportunities squandered are the chanceto have better fireworks between Caine and Law. Missteps in that thechoice of a garish setting and odd shifts in plot take away from thecreation of a tension and a believable thriller. Instead we get somesmart dialog and great performances in a film that doesn't let them bereal.despite some great performances and witty dialog this is only a 4 outof 10 because the rest of the script just doesn't work
Kenneth Branagh is known for great Laurence Olivier remakes. His lastremake was 1991's Hamlet. 16 years later Branagh is adapting one ofOlivier's most famous films, Sleuth. He proves with his effectivedirecting and camera techniques that he is still the greatest directorfor a remake. The film only has two actors, the legendary Michael Caineas he reverses his role this time around. In this film, the supposedItalian actor Milo Tindle is played by Jude Law. The film starts offwith the camera cutting through security cameras throughout Wyke's(Caine) countryside estate. When Tindle arrives you find out that he isthe lover to Wyke's wife. He simply asks for him to agree to a divorce,but Wyke has much more planned than that. The film then spends the restof its time playing out elaborate mind games of deceit and trickerythat will keep you guessing until the last second.Usually, I think it'd be hard to watch just two actors for almost90min. To pull it off, you'd have to have two incredibly strong actorsto pull it off, and they got the perfect people for it. Michael Cainebrings Olivier's role a fresher sense of darkness and questionableattributes. While Jude Law easily proves that he is one of hisgenerations top actors. For playing Caine's former performance, Law issufficient enough to keep the film going. During the second act of thefilm, Law will surprise you with a stunning performance.Branagh's direction is somewhat courageous. He uses new cameratechniques that haven't been seen before. Sleuth in some way is a dreamfor a cameraman. Branagh pulls off such interesting angles that itgives you different perspectives of what's going on in each scene.Whether your only line of sight is protruding through a setmini-blinds, it almost makes you feel like a peeping tom listening inon the mens conversation.The script written by Harold Pinter is filled with eloquent dialog thatwill entrance you. The character's flip flop from good to badconstantly, so the dialog keeps you updated on who is winning the game.It also gives you a sense that there is a third character in the film.The house. It's incredibly high tech and is the reason for the same ofthe character's choices. Pinter also uses some of the designs in thehouse to help move the story along.However though, towards the end of the second act it seems that the twocharacters start to get too caught up in their own games and the filmdoes get a bit contrived. It lost my interest a little at the end aswell. The film ends abruptly but leaves you hanging. After talkingabout everything, my conclusion is that Sleuth is definitely one of thegreatest remakes of all time. I give it an 8 out of 10
I must say that when i first saw Sleuth it was in a Theater. before that i never heard of the movies nor the story.Obviously the play was much more exciting than the movie itself,But if i had to choose between the 2 versions.I undoubtedly prefer the fist one ,because it follows perfectly the original script. This last Version in 2007 wasnt what it meant to be.Of course Caine and Jude's performances are outrageous.But the modern sofisticated Andrews house set ,and all the new adaptation werent nesessary. Personally i think that the fact in the original story of happening in the 70s its mostly another character.It adds a lot of mystery and glamour.I dislike it to be so modern and virtually exagerated.I hated Tindle in this version.And of course the last 25 minutes i was about to turn off my tv,when Caine appears to be gay.What the hell??!!! Anthony Shaffer wherever he is still must be crying in his grave.still both actors where amazing.2 thumbs up for M.Caine and Jude LawJust to finish here is what i think.Sleuth its awesome and much better when you watch it ,or read it in its original version.THANKS
Kenneth Branaugh's Sleuth is no Joseph L. Mankiewicz Sleuth. Thatshould be gotten with out of the way, though there will be quite a fewwho have yet to see the original 1972 adaptation of Anthony Schaffer'sscathing take on a game of oneupmanship. If you're seeing this film forthe first time, it may astonish as to how these two British stars,Michael Caine and Jude Law, spar off of one another. But if you've seenthe original (as I have), the original where Olivier had MichaelCaine's part, and Michael Caine had what is now Jude Law's part, you'llremember how wonderfully odd the film was, the marionettes and puppetslooking on as its own audience, and the repore between the two starsbeing pitch-perfect. It stays in the mind as one of those truly greatstage-to-screen adaptations.This 2007 film is not without its respectfulness of the original, nor asense of its own as a movie. Branaugh and his DP Haris Zambraloukisgive Andrew's home a concrete, metallic look (I'm reminded of the waythe interior of the Prime Minister's looked in The Ghost Writer), andthe lighting, however at times obvious in its color scheme (blue,green, purple, red, they keep coming up) and its compositionsdeliberately fast or slow with the pacing of the editing, isinteresting. But I wonder if Branaugh may have tried a little too hardin a way to make this different as a Sleuth movie. The tension isalready so high between what will happen in this story of the old manconspiring with the young man to steal his unfaithful wife's jewelswith double-crossing ensuing that the film-making threatens to overtakethe actors.Luckily, that doesn't quite happen. With Michael Caine he can easilyplay the role of Andrew just as well, if not in his own was as an oldman better, than his role previously as Milo's. He's got a dry charmbut a vicious bite, and gives a kind of stare at times to Andrew thatis downright scary. It's also great to see how he reacts in the lastact after he's been duped by Milos' shtick as the detective (watch ashe ever so cunningly tries to get Milo to take the room in his house tostay in). And Law is a very energetic presence here, matching up withCaine as best as he can. He plays off of the crafty facade of Andrew bymaking Milo devilish but likable, like a partial con-artist who has aswagger that is vicious but fun. When Branaugh stops his cutting andcutaways to give them a moment together, it's dynamite.But somehow the film just doesn't click the way it could. It is like acover song, not so much a remake, where we hear the same song and knowthe beats and basic mood of the thing, but the joy is hearing it donein a new way. The new choices in Sletuh aren't too bad, but there are afew times where Pinter's screenplay makes things a little too slick, orjust... hollow in a way that is hard to describe. It's a 'modern'update, and it's a good addition to Caine/Law's library of work, thoughif I were to choose which the original trumps for its extra, soulfulcunning, particularly in the last reel of Mankiewicz's film.
I loved the 1972 version of "Sleuth" where Sir Laurence Olivier played the cuckolded Andrew Wyck and Michael Caine played cocky young Milo Tindle who'd stolen Wyck's wife of 14 years. When I heard the film had been remade with Caine now in the role of the elderly Wyck, I had to see how he'd handle himself. While Caine was interesting in the reprised role, if you can see only one version of "Sleuth," see the original with Olivier and Caine.
If you have never seen any previous incarnations of Sleuth, you willfind waiting for you an odd but reasonably enjoyable bit of film. Withonly 2 characters to deliver the entire story and one location, thereis no escaping the sense, however, that this film was adapted from astage play.The story is essentially about a game of intellectual oneupmanshipbetween a married man (Caine) and his wife's lover (Law). Both actorsdeliver decent enough performances although it's hard to believe anyonecould have been fooled by Jude Law's detective character at all.As for the direction, it felt like Brannagh was trying to compensatefor the lack of physical action with some weird and wonderful cameraangles which at times lifted the comic tone of the film but overallgrew tiresome. The same can be said for the modern art and technology.Overall, this film is worth your time if you like the idea of bringinga theatre piece into your home. Otherwise, this is probably not foryou. 5/10
It is reducing to think of this as a remake of the original. Instead itis much richer to consider it as a film which over layers the original.You really should see the first one in order to magnify the experienceof this one. Think of the original, than consider it to be merely astarting point. Than open your mind to this one. You do that, and youwill be given one of the best film experiences that deal with thecreation of stories. I did.Schaffer/Mankiewicz's version was about two characters fighting for thecontrol of the storyline. Their personal game of humiliation andrevenge was based on each one creating a story and performing it soconvincingly that they would fool the other into believing it. In thatversion we had toys and animated puppets all around the set to enhancethis. It was a masterpiece of film writing that worked because theacting supported it. Laurence Olivier was great there because heconstantly explained us the creation of the story as we went along. Thefilm was one of pure males, cocks fight. The woman for whom they werefighting, was in a painting.Here we start on the footsteps of that film. Two thirds of the thingleave no room for wandering about motivations. If you know the originalyou will know what to expect. This is wonderfully staged. The womanthat causes the game IS the house, which she decorated. So we have herplaying the game, much more than we had in the original. Branagh is tobe reckoned for the mastery of the thing. The way he handlessurveillance cameras invents a third character who is all around, whomwe never see. The house is, at the same time, ostensibly a set,designed not for someone to live in it, but to be explored by ourcharacters. But it IS also a house! I'll mark this as an interestingcase of a film which relates cinema and architecture, for how thehouse/set is handled.**spoilers herein** The narrative master stroke comes in the last 20 minutes. It's aspecial thing which will work with stronger effect because we alreadyhave the original film. It's a kind of twist over what we expectbecause we saw that other film. Here we feel heavily the hand of HaroldPinter. At a certain point, when our characters are starting the last"set" of their game, we are left undecided oscillating betweenbelieving their sincerity or trying to figure who is making the move.The gay theme is introduced, and the play moves to a state of enormousambiguity, only revealed in the very last minutes. Again, the house(the elevator) provides us a strong last shot, which ends the film in amuch more conclusive and effective way than the original. Caine'scharacter is much more ambiguous, and he is to be credited with hislong moments of pure silence in the guest room, as he decides whetherto give in to Law's demands or not. That was greatJude Law is quite an interesting actor to follow. Besides his obviousqualities, it seems to me he is specially intelligent (or welloriented) in how he chooses the films where he plays. His remakes ofCaine's former roles are good examples of that.My opinion: 4/5 this is several plays within a play, which becomes afilm, framed by other film. You want to watch it.http://www.7eyes.wordpress.com
i personally found this movie terrible!!!! its that bad that it made meregister on IMDb so that i can tell all of you not to waste you timewatching it!! i thought it was rubbish acting that made me cringe (and i love Judelaw to bits)! it doesn't really make a whole lot of sense and has nopoint. why don't you just kill each other to begin with instead offaffing around. both my mother and i towards the end of the movie thought the endingwas going to be a joke and that it was just 2 gay guys having a laughon the weekend lol !!!!! anyhoo highly not recommended unless you want to die of boredom !!!!much luv xoxo
This remake isn't as radical as last week's Heartbreak Kid redo. But it's similarly unsatisfying.
This film wants only to entertain, and other talents have gathered with Pinter to help.
The plot has been discussed by other evaluators, and also the various movies and plays with the same theme/title. I'm a very liberal reviewer and almost always give the draw to the hard-working folks that do their very best...usually. Even with all the twists and turns in this treatment, and some stellar acting, I found the whole thing boring and the dialogue trite. Save your moolah on this one and look for something more rewarding and exciting, and with more clever characterization, maybe Yosemite Sam or Garfield the Cat.
It's hard to fault a 35th anniversary retelling for not being able to fool us, but you would think in that time they'd be able to find a way to make that second-act twist work on film.
And I watch them almost every day. And that one was really wonderful.In the beginning I liked dialogs so much. And I have only a smallworry. If the could do so good till the end. But it was really a bigfun all the time. And I've was a bit surprised, that this movie has solow rating, because for me it's modern masterpiece. I'm really not a big fan of Jude Law. My wife is but I really enjoyedhis play and of course Michael Caine. Another thing I've liked in thismovie, that it's completely unpredictable, of course if you don't knoworiginal scenario. But even if you know, the dialogs themselves areunpredictable. Every second you just wait, what they say next. Almostevery sentence is as clever as full of dark humor.When I've watched old version after it, it was mostly boring for me. Ithink thats just two different generations films.