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Review byMatthew Turner19/11/2007

Two out of Five stars
Running time: 86 mins

Perhaps the year's most pointless remake (and that's saying something), Sleuth is something of a disappointment, thanks to poor direction, dodgy acting and a laughably bad script.

What's it all about?
A remake of the 1972 film in which Michael Caine took the younger role opposite Laurence Olivier, Sleuth is adapted from the play by Anthony Shaffer and directed by Kenneth Branagh, from a revamped script by Harold Pinter. Jude Law stars as struggling actor Milo Tindle, who arrives at the home of wealthy crime novelist Andrew Wyke (Michael Caine), in order to persuade him to divorce his wife so that she can marry him.

However, it's clear that Wyke has been expecting this call for some time and he asks Tindle to help him fake a burglary, so that he can claim on the insurance and Milo and his lover can live off the stolen jewellery. Naturally, the robbery doesn't go as planned, setting off a deadly cat-and-mouse game between the two men where you're never quite sure who has the upper hand.

The Good
The most interesting thing about the film is Wyke's house, which is a traditional English country mansion house on the outside, but a mish-mash of concrete, glass and gleaming steel on the inside. Branagh seems equally fascinated with it, as he shoots several scenes through or around various objects in the house, presumably in an attempt to distract us from the stagey origins of the material (clue: it doesn't work).

The Bad
The most depressing thing is that Pinter and Branagh have somehow managed to remove the palpable sense of menace and suspense that was present in the original film. As such, what remains is a rather bloodless affair where two unlikeable characters score points off each other while giving each other evils.

As if that wasn't bad enough, the acting is extremely dodgy in places (Law's especially) and the dialogue is laughably bad throughout.

Worth seeing?
Sleuth is an utterly pointless remake that's only really worth seeing for its occasional dips into so-bad-it's-good territory. Rent the far superior 1972 version instead.

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Content updated: 17/07/2019 15:28

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