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  Publicity Stills of
(Courtesy from Cathay-Keris Films)

Genre: Thriller/Drama
Director: Kenneth Branagh
Cast: Michael Caine, Jude Law
RunTime: 1 hr 27 mins
Released By: Cathay-Keris Films
Rating: NC-16 (Coarse Language and Some Mature Content)
Official Website: http://www.sonyclassics.com/sleuth/

Opening Day: 17 April 2008


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.

Movie Review:

Fancy watching a play on the silver screen? How about pitting two of the finest British actors from different generations in this play? To spice things up, let's have the two actors go against each other all by themselves right up till the end. The result is "Sleuth".

Michael Caine plays Andrew Wyke, a successful mystery novelist who has it all - wealth, fame and a beautiful wife. Everything is fine and dandy until Milo Tindle (Jude Law) comes along to be entangled in an affair with Andrew's wife. Andrew then decides to make a deal with Milo so that the matter can be resolved amicably into a win-win situation. However, when greed and lust take over, there can be only one man left victorious.

It is worth noting that "Sleuth" is a remake of a 1972 film of the same name which is in turn based on a play. Michael Caine also appeared in the earlier film playing the role of Milo Tindle, so this is a sort of role reversal and revisitation for him. Moviegoers who have never seen the play or the 1972 feature will be in for a treat as there are some nice surprises in store.

However, this movie is not for everyone. Those who are accustomed to the usual popcorn flicks may find it to be a tad boring due to the lack of conventional action and intimate scenes. The entire set is mostly confined to Andrew's manor only, making the film resembling even more like a play. Fortunately, to break the monotony while at the same time reminding viewers that they are watching a film, director Kenneth Branagh has applied some nifty camera angles, such as those where we see the interaction between Andrew and Milo from the security cameras' point of view. With these in mind, you have to appreciate fine acting for the movie to be effective.

The enjoyment of watching this film is no different than a boxing match. While there is certainly a lesser amount of punching, the film makes up for it by having two excellent actors engage in a battle of wits. Viewers may choose to side with either the dashing young Jude Law or the charming veteran Michael Caine, which can add to the overall fun. It is not entirely about tension though, as there are some instances where British sarcasm comes into play to provide some comic relief.

The experience of watching a movie with an ensemble of only two actors is quite refreshing for me, to say the least. For this to work, both actors must be up to the task, which is certainly the case here. The closest match to this kind of concept is 2005's "Hard Candy" that has the majority of its screen time devoted to its two main characters who are also in a psychological battle of their own. I have nothing bad to say about "Sleuth" except for a suggestive scene at
the very end that made me somewhat uncomfortable. Other than that, "Sleuth" is a nice choice of a film to spend your 90 minutes on. It can be a good reference material for those budding actors out there too.

Movie Rating:

(A two-man show that showcases the talents of outstanding British actors from start to finish but may not be everyone's cup of Earl Grey)

Review by Tan Heng Hau


. My Blueberry Nights (2007)

. Perfect Stranger (2007)

. Breaking And Entering (2006)

. The Prestige (2006)

. Closer (2004)

. Children of Men DVD (2006)

. All The King's Men DVD (2006)




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