Last year, between the two of us, we watched an average of 317 movies.
This year our goal is to top that by watching at least one a day.
And as an extra special torture, we've decided to write about all of them.

08 July 2008

Sleuth, dir. Kenneth Branagh (2007)

NIKKI says:
It's saying a lot that the original is 138 minutes, while this remake is barely 85. The 1972 Sleuth is considered one of the greatest British thrillers of all time, with Michael Caine and Laurence Olivier battling wits in their horrible games of psychological oneupmanship. Here, the wit is rather sparse, making way for a lot of yelling and screaming and overthetopness. There's a max of three "games", and each is sillier and less thrilling than the one before. As far as remakes, or re-imaginings go, I cannot decide just what the point of this was. Let's take a famous thriller, cut all the meat out of it, give the characters a somewhat futuristic setting, add a bit of homoeroticism and a lot of uses of the word "cunt", and see what happens.

Well, nothing really. The short running time means there's very little time to develop characters and believable twists. When Jude Law walks back into Michael Caine's life in disguise, it's hard not to feel that Caine is such an easy dupe not to realise what's going on. In turn, when Caine flips the tables again on Law, it's almost preposterous that Law doesn't see the game playing out right in front of him.

These actors could have really done something with a clever script, yet Pinter's veritable flip-book is so weak that while they're acting their hearts out, they're not saying anything of particular interest. It's a Sleuth best-of that reveals its hand far too early, and before you realise you're supposed to care, it's way too late.


STEVE says:
Man, I don't even know what to say. I didn't enjoy the original so much, and this wasn't a whole lot better.

It might work better as a play, although I don't see how. There are only two people in the cast, so when a third character shows up after one of the original two is disposed of, it doesn't take much to figure that it's the same guy in prosthetic teeth and a belly-pillow.

And this is the part I just don't get: Are we, as the audience, supposed to know it's the character in disguise? One can't help but think so because Jude Law is Jude Law, no matter what you do to him. So if we can tell, why the hell can't Michael Caine?

No. I didn't dig the first one, I didn't dig this one, and I likely won't dig it again when Jude Law comes back in 35 years to play Andrew to Freddy Highmore's Milo.


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