October 12, 2007
On the Big Board
||Fine English performers, but the plot is amateurish from conception. I never liked the original version, and can't tell which one is worse.
With the release of Sleuth — the 2007 remake, not the 1972 original — Michael Caine can lay claim to having the best of both worlds. That’s because 35 years ago, Caine played the role of Milo Tindle, a struggling actor who steals the heart of an elderly writer's wife, in the original film. Fast forward to today and Caine — now 74 — plays Andrew Wyke, the elderly writer.
And making matters a bit more complicated, Jude Law plays Tindle, the role originally played by Caine. (Just three years ago, Law was the lead in Alfie, a remake of the 1966 film of the same name starring Caine).
Though not a strict remake of the 1972 original — which, in fact, is a remake of the 1970 Tony Award-winning play by Anthony Shaffer — Sleuth does follow the same basic plot. In it, Wyke, a writer of detective novels and a gaming enthusiast, decides to invite Tindle, who is having an affair with his wife, Marguerite, into the home for a real-life game with potentially deadly results. Wyke proposes that Tindle steal Marguerite's jewelry and then sell it. While Tindle can live happily with Marguerite with his new riches, Wyke surmises that he can claim the jewelry’s insurance money.
Director Kenneth Branagh and composer Patrick Doyle are again collaborating in Sleuth — their eighth film together. Doyle, who has composed for at least one film per year since 1989, previously worked with Branagh in a number of film adaptations of William Shakespeare plays, including Much Ado About Nothing in 1993, Hamlet in 1996, Love's Labour's Lost in 2000 and most recently, As You Like It in 2006.
The release of Sleuth marks Branagh's first non-Shakespeare-related film since directing Mary Shelley's Frankenstein in 1994. (Eric Hughes/BOP)