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Sleuth (2007 film)

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Director  Kenneth Branagh
Screenplay  Harold Pinter
Duration  
Language  English
6.6/10 IMDb

Genre  Drama, Mystery, Thriller
Story by  Anthony Shaffer
Country  United Kingdom United States
Sleuth (2007 film) movie poster
Release date  12 October 2007 (2007-10-12) (United States) (Limited release) 23 November 2007 (2007-11-23) (United Kingdom)
Based on  Sleuth  by Anthony Shaffer
Writer  Harold Pinter (screenplay), Anthony Shaffer (play)
Cast  Jude Law (Milo Tindle), Michael Caine (Andrew Wyke), Harold Pinter (Man on T.V.), Carmel O'Sullivan (Maggie), Kenneth Branagh (Other Man on T.V.)
Similar movies  Lady and the Tramp, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Diamonds Are Forever, 10,000 BC, Batman Forever, The Count of Monte Cristo
Tagline  Obey the rules.

Sleuth 2007 official trailer


Sleuth is a 2007 thriller film directed by Kenneth Branagh and starring Jude Law and Michael Caine. The screenplay by Harold Pinter is an adaptation of Anthony Shaffer's Tony Award-winning play Sleuth. Caine had previously starred in a 1972 version, where he played Law's role against Laurence Olivier.

Contents

Sleuth (2007 film) movie scenes

Sleuth trailer 2007


Plot

Sleuth (2007 film) movie scenes

At his country estate, a writer and an actor who has stolen his wife's heart match wits against each other involving mind games and tricks.

Differences from original

Sleuth (2007 film) wwwgstaticcomtvthumbmovieposters170784p1707

"A millionaire detective novelist matches wits with the unemployed actor who ran off with his wife in a deadly serious, seriously twisted game with dangerous consequences." The film does not use Anthony Shaffer's original dialogue; instead it uses a completely rewritten script by Harold Pinter, while retaining the basic idea. There are a few very significant changes:

Sleuth (2007 film) Sleuth Movie Review Film Summary 2007 Roger Ebert
  • Tindle does not pretend to murder Wyke's mistress – instead he pretends to perform the robbery he set up before (a crucial difference, as the supposed murder sets up a psychological motive for the original film's ending);
  • Wyke now tries to seduce Tindle; and
  • Wyke appears to get off scot free at the end, as opposed to the original where it is presumed that Wyke will likely be arrested. (This time his wife appears to be on her way to the house, as opposed to the police.)
  • In the original, Wyke was an aristocratic eccentric; his vehement dislike of Tindle's working-class, Italian roots was the source of much of the tension. This is not the case in this version.
  • Tindle is an impoverished actor, rather than a wealthy hairdressing-salon owner.

  • Sleuth (2007 film) Sleuth shadowplay

    The 2007 version is nearly an hour shorter than the 1972 version.

    Cast

    Sleuth (2007 film) Amazoncom Sleuth Michael Caine Jude Law Harold Pinter Kenneth
  • Michael Caine as Andrew Wyke
  • Jude Law as Milo Tindle
  • Harold Pinter as Man on TV
  • Carmel O'Sullivan as Maggie
  • Kenneth Branagh as Man being questioned by Harold Pinter on TV.
  • History

    Caine had starred as hairdresser Milo Tindle opposite Laurence Olivier's novelist Andrew Wyke in the 1972 film Sleuth, with each being nominated for an Academy Award for his performance. In the 2007 film, Caine took the role of Wyke, and Law took Caine's role of Tindle.

    Sleuth (2007 film) Amazoncom Sleuth Michael Caine Jude Law Harold Pinter Kenneth

    This was the second time Law performed a film character originated by Caine, the first having been the title role of Alfie. Caine himself had previously starred in two different roles for two versions of Get Carter.

    Sleuth (2007 film) Sleuth Movie Poster 2 of 2 IMP Awards

    According to many accounts, this set out to be a remake of the 1972 version, but Pinter's screenplay-offered "a fresh take" on Shaffer's play and "a very different form" from the original film.

    Sleuth (2007 film) Sleuth 2007 Official Trailer YouTube

    In his review of the film's debut at the 2007 Venice Film Festival, Roderick Conway Morris observed: "The reworking of the play is not just an adept transformation of theatre to film ... but also casts a revealing light on social history, reflecting the enormous changes in English society, language and morals in the nearly 40 years since the play first appeared on the London stage."

    The screenwriter, actors and director insisted that this Sleuth was not a "remake." Law called it "a completely reinvented Sleuth... It didn't feel like a remake. I always loved the idea at its heart of two men battling it out for a woman you never meet." Law further felt that he "was creating a character (Tindle), I wasn't recreating one." Caine said, "I never felt that I had gone back to Sleuth." He called the Pinter script "an entirely different thing. There isn't a single line in it that was in the other one, and Pinter had never seen the [1972] movie. Jude [Law] gave him the stage play and said, 'Write a screenplay for me' ... It was a completely different experience." In a television interview conducted on RAI TV during the Venice International Film Festival, Caine stated: "If the script hadn't been by Harold Pinter, I wouldn't have done the movie."

    Pinter said, "It's a totally new take...I had not either seen or read the play, and I hadn't seen the film adapted from the play either, so I knew nothing about it. So I simply read the play and I think it's totally transformed. I've kept one or two plot things because you have to but apart from that, I think I've made it my own."

    Caine stated, "The first Sleuth I thought was great and the second Sleuth I thought was great until I read the reviews. I said to Pinter, 'What film did they show them?' I have a feeling that [the new] Sleuth will be rediscovered some day."

    Screenings

    After premiering at the 64th Venice Film Festival on 30 August 2007, Sleuth was screened at the Toronto Film Festival on 10 September 2007. It was also screened at the Atlantic Film Festival, in Halifax, on 22 September 2007, the Aspen FilmFest on 26 September 2007, the Copenhagen International Film Festival, on 27 September 2007, the Calgary International Film Festival, in Alberta, on 28 September 2007 and the Haifa International Film Festival on 1 October 2007.

    On 3 and 4 October 2007, Sleuth was screened at Variety’s 2007 Screening Series in New York, at the Chelsea West Cinemas, and in Los Angeles, at the ArcLight Theatre. Kenneth Branagh, Michael Caine and Jude Law made interviews on the television programs The Today Show, RAI TV, Late Show with David Letterman, The Charlie Rose Show, and Reel Talk with Jeffrey Lyons.

    Claustrophobia

    Manohla Dargis from The New York Times wrote a review headlined "A Dance of Two Men, Twisting and Turning With a Gun That's More Than a Gun." In contrast to Sarah Lyall's New York Times preview, Dargis wrote that she did not like watching the film, finding it too claustrophobic: "Mr. Branagh fiddles with the lights, tilts the camera and hustles his hard-working actors upstairs and down and back again and into an elevator as small as a coffin built for one. He embellishes the screenplay’s every obvious conceit and word, hammering the point until you feel as if you’re trapped inside the elevator with Milo and Andrew, going up and down and up and down, though nowhere in particular."

    In his interview with Martin A. Grove, Branagh mentions that the danger of inducing claustrophobia in audience members is a risk that he took into account in filming Sleuth: "What Branagh didn't do that many Hollywood directors would have done is to open the film up by, for instance, having the two men drive to a nearby pub at some point in their conversation. 'Well, it's interesting you say that,' he told [Grove], 'There were discussions about that, but we said, 'If we believe in the power of the writing here and the power of the performances, but also, frankly, if we believe in the audience and believe that the audience can find this as fascinating as I do on the pages and if we can realize it to meet all of their expectations then the claustrophobia (won't be a problem).' "

    The House

    Director Branagh found shooting in the house difficult yet interesting. “The minimalism I found was a great challenge. The elevator was Harold's idea, so that was there and was a central feature of what we are going to bring to it. And then everything else was drawn from contemporary British architecture, contemporary British artists. The wire figure is by Anthony Gormley, one of our most famous sculptors. Gary Hume did all the artwork on the walls." Custom designed furniture from Ron Arad completes the look.

    Reviews

    The film review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes gives the movie a 36%. Of 118 reviews, 42 were "Fresh" (positive) and 76 "Rotten" (negative). The critical consensus states that "Sleuth is so obvious and coarse, rather than suspenseful and action-packed, that it does nothing to improve on the original version."

    Time film reviewer Richard Corliss indicated he was not pleased with the outcome, concluding, "...[I]f you consider what the exalted quartet of Branagh, Pinter, Caine and Law might have done with the project, and what they did to it, Sleuth has to be the worst prestige movie of the year."

    Claudia Puig of USA Today was more appreciative, writing, "Caine and Law are in fine form bantering cleverly in this entertaining cat-and-mouse game, thanks to the inspired dialogue of Harold Pinter. They parry, using witticisms instead of swords. Then they do a dance of deception, a veritable tango. There's thievery, peril and plenty of double-crossing. ... As directed by Kenneth Branagh, this new version is darker and more claustrophobic. In the original the house where all the action took place was Gothic and laden with gewgaws. The new domicile is stark and minimalist, and much more threatening. Branagh's version has more incipient horror and less camp."

    Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times wrote, "It's no mystery that 'Sleuth' is fascinating," observing that Pinter "has written a new country house mystery, which is not really a mystery at all in terms of its plot, and eerily impenetrable in its human relationship" and that "in 'Sleuth' what [Kenneth Branagh] celebrates is perplexing, ominous, insinuating material in the hands of two skilled actors." In contrast, J.R. Jones of The Chicago Reader wrote, "Director Kenneth Branagh has mercifully pared the action down to 88 minutes (the first movie dragged on for 138), but the final act, with its obscure homosexual flirtation, still seems to go on forever."

    Carina Chocano, writing in the Los Angeles Times, stated: "The verbal sparring is so sharp [that] it's a wonder nobody loses an eye. ... it's an unmitigated pleasure to observe Caine and Law attack it with such ferocity...." Terry Lawson of the Detroit Free Press, on the other hand, criticised the performances by the lead actors, saying, "We're left with two suitably hammy performances by Caine and Law, who do not forget they are actors playing actors....

    Leonard Maltin gave the film a "BOMB" rating, the lowest rating he has ever given a Branagh film, stating that the new version "has every ounce of entertainment drained from it" and called the film "unbelievably bad".

    Soundtrack

    Patrick Doyle is the composer and the music is performed by the London Symphony Orchestra. The soundtrack is produced by Varèse Sarabande and was released in October 2007.

    Track listing

    1. The Visitor – 2:06
    2. The Ladder – 2:49
    3. You're Now You – 1:26
    4. I'm Not A Hairdresser – 3:28
    5. Black Arrival – 2:22
    6. Milo Tindle – 2:17
    7. I Was Lying – 2:30
    8. Itch Twitch – 2:23
    9. Rat in a Trap – 2:26
    10. One Set All – 2:24
    11. Cobblers – 1:39
    12. Sleuth – 6:05
    13. Too Much Sleuth (Dance Mixes by Patrick Doyle Jr.) – 3:51

    References

    Sleuth (2007 film) Wikipedia
    Sleuth (2007 film) IMDb Sleuth (2007 film) themoviedb.org


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