Starring: Michael Caine and Jude Law
Audience: Older teenagers and adults
Runtime: 86 minutes
Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics
Director: Kenneth Branagh
Executive Producer: None
Producer: Jude Law, Simon Halfon, Tom
Sternberg, Marion Pilowsky,
Kenneth Branagh, and Simon
Writer: Harold Pinter
Address Comments To:Michael Barker, Tom Bernard and Marcia Bloom
Sony Pictures Classics
(Sony Pictures Entertainment)
550 Madison Avenue, 8th Floor
New York, NY 10022
Phone: (212) 833-8833
Fax: (212) 833-8844
Web Page: www.sonyclassics.com
In this remake adapted by Harold Pinter, who has changed the plot in a couple important ways, Michael Caine is Andrew Wycke, a best-selling mystery novelist living alone in a large, ultra-modern country estate in England. The movie opens with Andrew welcoming his wife Marguerite’s new lover, a struggling actor named Milo Tindle (played by Jude Law), into his house. Andrew has invited Milo there to make a proposal to him.
After trading insults and bon mots with Milo, Andrew suggests that Milo will never be able to afford Marguerite’s extravagant tastes. He proposes that Milo steal some expensive jewelry hidden in his safe, so that Milo can sell the jewelry and Andrew can collect the insurance. This scheme turns out to be an elaborate sadistic game, which leads to more games and twists.
There has always been a mechanical theatricality to this script, but director Kenneth Branagh enhances this quality by setting the three acts in a metallic-looking interior design furnished with ultra-modern furniture, decorations and devices. Consequently, the characters seem even more cold and unappealing than they were in the original.
Even worse, the filmmakers add plenty of strong foul language and, in the third act, a distasteful homosexual subplot. Thus, the remake is rated R, while the original movie was rated only PG. The original movie wasn’t a morally uplifting work, so these strategies will only alienate the broad audience even further.
There has always been a mechanical theatricality to this script, but the movie enhances this quality. One way it does this is by setting the three acts in a metallic-looking interior design containing ultra-modern furniture and devices. Consequently, the characters seem even more cold and unappealing than they were in the original. Worse, the filmmakers add strong foul language and a distasteful homosexual subplot. Thus, the remake is rated R, while the original movie, where Michael Caine played Milo, was rated only PG.