Weekly News via Email
   Set as homepage | Add to favorites | Customer Service | Subscribe Now | Place an Ad | Contact Us | Sitemap Wednesday, 10.22.2014
Classifieds
News Archive
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
 1  2  3  4  5  6
 7  8  9  10  11  12  13
 14  15  16  17  18  19  20
 21  22  23  24  25  26  27
 28  29  30  31
Online Extras
Site Services
Around Bend
Outdoor Fun
Travel Info
Shop Local




Members Of



Poll: Today's Live Poll
Email to a friend | Print this | PDF version | Comments (0 posted) 
  Blogger |   del.icio.us |   digg |   newsvine

Oct 26,2007
Movie Review: 'Sleuth'
by David Elliott

There isn't much point in remaking Anthony Shaffer's stage hit "Sleuth," filmed with very busy stagecraft in 1972 by Joseph Mankiewicz.

 
'SLEUTH' - Jude Law gets to oppose Michael Caine in the role once played by Caine in Kenneth Branagh's frosty remake of 'Sleuth.' CNS Photo courtesy of David Appleby. 

RATINGS

4 STARS - Excellent.

3 STARS - Worthy.

2 STARS - Mixed.

1 STAR - Poor.

0 - Forget It (a dog.) 

Proof: Kenneth Branagh's remake, the Shaffer play partly gutted, the rehabby Harold Pinter.

No talents better sum up modern British theater than Pinter and Branagh. But they've made a movie. As such, "Sleuth" is like being stuck in a cold locker for preserved hams: Michael Caine as rich, snobbish writer Andrew Wyke, and Jude Law as actor Milo Tindle, who seduced Wyke's wife and is invited to the estate for drastic comeuppance.

In the 1972 movie, Caine was the Italo-English Tindle, lured into lurid traps by Laurence Olivier's Wyke. The brittle, nervy fun of that film was less in Shaffer's arch stage tricks and fancy verbiage, which put a cynical spin on Agatha Christie mysteries, than in Olivier chewing the florid decor with his showboating jests and games. Caine, to the surprise of many, matched him with a less showy form of payback.

Caine is now 74, and the close-ups of his hands (more than his face) are forlornly revealing. His Wyke is a tired, suavely sadistic weirdo. He lives in an impersonally postmodern home so sterile and metallic that it hardly seems fit for anything except an absurdly expensive trap for a posturing fly like Tindle.

Pinter has kept some plot contortions, like the silly jewel heist. He has highlighted the sadism and envy (of wealth by one man, of youth by the other). And he steams into fuller view the erotic subtext. "The big one's mine," preens Wyke at the start, talking about his car, thus opening a Freudian face-off in which a cigar is far more than a cigar (and the woman in dispute is not even a cigar band).

At 34, Jude Law remains too pretty to fully texture a role in which he is baited as a mere "hairdresser." Later, he postures being a pettish boy-toy who slithers onto Wyke's bed like a cat in heat. Suddenly, we seem to be leaving "Sleuth" for "Staircase," in which Rex Harrison and Richard Burton poofed and prissed like mad (also, like dumb).

Branagh's technique is fluent, fancy and vacuous. Pinter, even more than Shaffer, is a noted master of the stiletto line, but his "Sleuth" is never witty enough to justify its nagging nastiness. The characters seem made for each other, perhaps, yet hardly for any human audience.

A lot of talent came together to provide us that rare and saddest gift of British theater to Americans: a bore. No gift for Brits, also.

A Sony Pictures Classics release. Director: Kenneth Branagh. Writer: Harold Pinter. Cast: Michael Caine, Jude Law. Running time: 1 hour, 28 minutes. Rated R. 2 stars.
1143 times read

Related news
Film Close-Up: Jude Law by Joey_Berlin posted on Oct 26,2007

Films in Focus: New and recent releases by David Elliott and others posted on Nov 23,2007

Films In Focus: New and recent releases by David Elliott and others posted on Nov 09,2007

Films in Focus: New and recent releases by David Elliott and others posted on Nov 16,2007

Films in Focus: New and recent releases by David Elliott and others posted on Oct 26,2007

Did you enjoy this article? Rating: 5.00Rating: 5.00Rating: 5.00Rating: 5.00Rating: 5.00 (total 6 votes)

Market Information
Breaking News
Most Popular
Most Commented
Featured Columnist
Horoscope Guide
Aquarius Aquarius Libra Libra
Aries Aries Pisces Pisces
Cancer Cancer Sagittarius Sagittarius
Capricorn Capricorn Scorpio Scorpio
Gemini Gemini Taurus Taurus
Leo Leo Virgo Virgo
Local Attractions
Bend Visitors & Convention Bureau
Bend Visitors & Convention Bureau

Mt. Bachelor Resort
Mt. Bachelor Resort

Les Schwab Ampitheater
Les Schwab Ampitheater

Deschutes County Fairgrounds
Deschutes County
Fairgrounds

Tower Theatre
Tower Theatre

The High Desert Museum

Advertisements



Deschutes County

Google  
  Web    BendWeekly.com
© 2006 Bend Weekly News
A .Com Endeavors, Inc. Company.
All Rights Reserved. Terms under
which this service is provided to you.
Please read our Privacy Policy. Contact us.
Bend Weekly News & Event Guide Online
   Save the Net
Advertisement
External sites open in new window,
not endorsed by BendWeekly.com
Subscribe in NewsGator Online
Add to Google Add to MSN Add to My AOL
What are RSS headlines?