SLEUTH Add To My Top 10

Cold Theatricality

Content -2
Quality
None Light Moderate Heavy
Language        
Violence        
Sex        
Nudity        

Release Date: October 12, 2007

Starring: Michael Caine and Jude Law

Genre: Mystery Thriller

Audience: Older teenagers and adults

Rating: R

Runtime: 86 minutes

Address Comments To:

Michael Barker, Tom Bernard and Marcia Bloom
Co-Presidents
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
Email: Sony_Classics@spe.sony.com

Content:

(H, HoHo, LLL, VV, SS, A, MM) Sarcastic, modernistic, somewhat sadistic (in an emotional way) humanist worldview with strong homosexual references; 39 obscenities (including many “f” words), seven strong profanities, and five light profanities; brief strong violence such as falling, threats of violence and shootings; frank talk about adultery and strong homosexual references in the third act; no nudity; alcohol use; no smoking; and, lying, deceit, insults, and playing sadistic mind games.

Summary:

In SLEUTH, an updated remake of a talky mystery play filmed before in 1972, a best-selling mystery novelist and his wife’s young lover play an unnerving series of dangerous games to get the upper hand. This modernistic remake increases the cold, unappealing nature of the original script and contains strong foul language and a new, distasteful homosexual subplot.

Review:

SLEUTH is a talky old mystery play from 1970 that was made into a movie in 1972. That movie earned both Sir Laurence Olivier and Michael Caine Oscar® nominations for Best Actor. Michael Caine also stars in this 2007 remake, but he now plays Olivier’s part while Jude Law takes the role that Caine played in 1972.

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.

In Brief:

SLEUTH is an updated remake of a mystery play filmed before in 1972. Michael Caine plays Andrew Wycke, a best-selling mystery novelist living in an ultra-modern country estate in England. Andrew invites his wife Marguerite’s lover, a struggling young actor named Milo (played by Jude Law), into his house to make a proposal. 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 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.