Thursday, January 28, 2010

Sleuth (1972)

A while back I saw a preview for a movie called Sleuth, starring Michael Caine and Jude Law.  This is not that movie.  As it turns out, that movie was a remake of 1972's Sleuth, starring Michael Caine and Laurence Olivier.  These are both based on the play by Anthony Shaffer.  In 1972, Michael Caine plays Milo Tindle, the suave young man who is having an affair with the wife of Andrew Wyke, the wealthy mystery writer who is played by Laurence Olivier.  In the 2007 version, Jude Law is the young lover, and Caine is the older man.

I enjoyed this movie, but the cleverness and counter-cleverness is almost too clever for me.  Milo comes to visit Andrew's house at Andrew's invitation.  Andrew confronts him with the affair, then proposes that Milo rob Andrew (with Andrew's consent) so that Milo will be able to sell the jewels and use the money to support Andrew's wife, and Andrew can collect the insurance money.  Milo buys into the plan, but then Andrew turns the tables on him, saying that he's going to kill Milo, with the excuse that he caught Milo robbing his house.  But that is all a trick, and Milo comes back with a clever ruse of his own. 

The story is intricate and interesting, but almost too clever for its own good.  Both these actors are legendary, and their interactions are fun to watch, but it ends up dragging on a bit too long.  Soon I'll pick up the 2007 version as a comparison.

Bottom line, 2 stars.

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