SLEUTH: Great Fun

BeyondChron, 19 October 2007
By Buzzin' Lee Hartgrave

The opening scenes are fascinating and strange. You, and I are looking thru a camera lens. It is a little unsettling at first, especially when you only see bits and pieces of interiors, faces, arms and legs. You know how it is when you take picture and don’t get everything you wanted in the frame? It takes a while to orient yourself to looking at the movie. Sometimes you are high above looking at someone knocking at a door and a hand comes out and welcomes you in. But, you are too far away to really see who it is.

Sleuth of course, is a mystery. And the house where this all takes place is a marvelous mystery. The modern interiors are so stark and so modern that it is ‘creepy’. And the guy who lives there, mystery writer Michael Caine is equally ‘creepy’. He invites Milo Tindal (Jude Law) to come to visit him. Why, because Tindal is having an affair with his wife – and Caine is a gamesman who likes to play games with peoples minds. Tindel is a nice well-mannered young man who is a British Hairdresser and a driver on the side, who sometimes acts in plays.

Caine professes that he wants to divorce his wife – but it all turns out to be part of an elaborate game. There are many twists and turns in this two-man film that is based on the Anthony Shaffer play. The movie has some really funny dialogue as the tables turn and the victim becomes the master of the moment, but not for long. I especially liked seeing Michael Caine wearing his wife’s Necklace and Earrings. I thought they looked rather well on him, even though Caine protests, “I don’t rather fancy them”. The two men exchange many wicked Four Letter barbs during their cat and mouse game. Who wins in the end in this drawing room mystery? I’ll never tell.

I say that there are two stars in the movie. Actually there is another star, a detective. I can’t reveal his name, for that would give away too much of the play. As I mentioned earlier – the house is so ultra modern that unless you were ready to be embalmed, you wouldn’t want to sleep there. The direction by Kenneth Branagh is positively brilliant. Both Caine and Law, turn in Oscar performances.

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