Sleuth was a successful Tony-award winning play by Anthony Shaffer that was quickly adapted as a movie in 1972. The DVD is somewhat hard to find, though it might be re-released in conjunction with the theatrical release of this "reinterpretation." If so, there's no question which version I would recommend first.
In the original, Laurence Olivier starred as Andrew Wyke, a wealthy mystery novelist who finds out his wife has been cheating on him. He decides to invite her young lover—Milo Tindle, played by Michael Caine—to his rural mansion and confront him about it. Wyke admits to an affair of his own, and since he's no longer interested in his wife, he makes an unusual offer to Tindle involving an insurance scam and a staged robbery at his mansion. Tindle is only interested in obtaining divorce papers from Wyke, skeptical and reluctant to accept Wyke's proposal, but then … well, to go any further would spoil the battle of wits that ensue as you begin to wonder who's playing games with who.
The behind-the-scenes trivia for this latest edition is every bit as twisty as the plot. Michael Caine returns, only now in the older role of Wyke. Stepping into Tindle's shoes is Jude Law, who previously handled a classic Caine role in the 2004 remake of Alfie. And if that weren't enough, this film was directed by Kenneth Branagh, whom some have likened to Olivier for his acclaimed reenactments of Shakespeare's works. Kind of a strange full circle, eh?
Strange doesn't really do justice in describing the newer film, which like its predecessor relies almost entirely on dialogue. I was thoroughly impressed with the first two-thirds of the new movie, only to be drastically disappointed with the final act. Like any performance, ...1
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