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71 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Directed by critically-acclaimed director Kenneth Branagh, Jude Law and two-time Oscar-winner Michael Caine (1987, Best Supporting Actor, Hannah and Her Sisters; 2000, Best Supporting Actor, Cider House Rules) join forces in this sharp-witted, modern adaptation of the 1972 classic, Sleuth. Locked in a high-tech English manor, bound in a deadly duel of wits, Andrew Wyke (Caine) and Milo Tindle (Law) come together as English gentlemen to discuss the matter of Wyke's wife: the woman both are sleeping with. But as wit becomes wicked and clever becomes cutthroat, Wyke and Tindle's game of one-upmanship spirals out of control, in an escalating chess match that can have only one outcome: murder.

Thirty-five years after Michael Caine played the role of crass boy-toy Milo Tindle in Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s screen adaptation of Anthony Shaffer’s hit play Sleuth, the actor takes over his 1972 co-star Laurence Olivier’s role of rich cuckold Andrew Wyke in Kenneth Branagh’s updated remake of the same story. Where Olivier brought a seething, upper-class disgust to mystery-novelist Wyke’s attitude toward Tindle--who is having an affair with the former’s wife and has come to the writer’s mansion to request that Wyke divorce her--Caine basks in the comic absurdity of a superficial man like Tindle (Jude Law) led by the nose into one or another illusion of happiness. The new film’s script by Harold Pinter has the arid air of expectation familiar to his work, the weight of things not said whenever someone speaks. That’s a considerable weight indeed, in Sleuth’s story of a psychological contest between two very different men who despise one another beneath outward civility.

The story finds Tindle arriving at Wyke’s home. Following various small humiliations, he is invited by the older man to steal his wife’s jewels in a scheme that benefits everyone. There’s more than meets the eye to Wyke’s proposal, however, leading to unexpected developments and surprises in the film’s second half. Branagh’s direction is suitably cool and sleek in the beginning, when the characters’ emotions are still in check and the oddness of Wyke’s gadget-filled world is still entertaining to behold. (The film’s set design is one of its strongest elements.) But once voices rise and threats appear and the like, Branagh can’t seem to penetrate the surface of things. Unlike Mankiewicz’s take, the new version is caught up in the insularity of the characters’ tit-for-tat gamesmanship, lacking the intriguing, class-warfare subtext of the earlier work. A gay angle thrown into the last half-hour sits uncomfortably and irrelevantly with the rest of the material. The best thing about this Sleuth are the performances of Law and Caine, who could have been even better with a great script. --Tom Keogh

Stills from Sleuth (click for larger image)

Beyond Sleuth

On Blu-ray

Audio CD

Special Features

  • Audio Commentary with Kenneth Branagh and Michael Caine
  • Audio Commentary with Jude Law
  • A Game of Cat & Mouse: Behind the Scenes of Sleuth
  • Inspector Doppler: Make-up Secrets Revealed

Product Details

  • Actors: Michael Caine, Jude Law, Harold Pinter, Kenneth Branagh, Carmel O'Sullivan
  • Directors: Kenneth Branagh
  • Writers: Harold Pinter, Anthony Shaffer
  • Producers: Jude Law, Kenneth Branagh, Ben Jackson, Marion Pilowsky, Simon Halfon
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: March 11, 2008
  • Run Time: 86 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001221DU6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #57,509 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Sleuth" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By R. Kyle VINE VOICE on April 2, 2008
Format: DVD
I loved the 1972 version of "Sleuth" where Sir Laurence Olivier played the cuckolded Andrew Wyck and Michael Caine played cocky young Milo Tindle who'd stolen Wyck's wife of 14 years. When I heard the film had been remade with Caine now in the role of the elderly Wyck, I had to see how he'd handle himself. While Caine was interesting in the reprised role, if you can see only one version of "Sleuth," see the original with Olivier and Caine.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By EddieLove on April 13, 2008
Format: DVD
The cozy, traditional English exterior still stands but the inside has been gutted and replaced with a cold, sterile design. The plot still works until it degenerates in the Pinterian excess of the final third. These scenes play like a revival of The Collection and may feel more dated than the original version of Sleuth. Certainly, no demerits on the acting front, though. Both stars are superb.

There's an entertaining commentary with Branagh and Michael Caine that's at it's best when Ken quizzes him on the original film. (We also learn, remarkably, that when Jude asks him in the film "What's it all about?" this wasn't an inside joke and wasn't even spotted until the film was finished. I assumed that and Milo's new job as a part time chauffeur were throwaway Alfie asides.)
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27 of 33 people found the following review helpful By VINE VOICE on January 23, 2008
Format: DVD
I don't know if I would go so far as to call the original film version of "Sleuth" a classic, but it is a darn good film and features virtuoso performances from Sir Laurence Olivier and Michael Caine.

Approximately a year ago, I heard of the plans to remake "Sleuth". Groan. Can't they at least try to come up with a new idea in Hollywood? Change the character's names and the title and call something it new? Why mess with a classic? Then, I remembered the original is a very good film, but not a classic. Michael Caine and Jude Law were signed to play the roles Olivier and Caine originated. This could be interesting. Michael Caine appearing in both versions? My interest was piqued. When I heard Kenneth Branagh was directing from a Harold Pinter screenplay, I was hooked.

The new version has some good things going for it, but the bad things far outweigh the good making "Sleuth (2007)" a disappointment.

Milo Tindle (Law), an out-of-work actor, arrives at the estate of Andrew Wyke (Caine), a hugely successful mystery novelist. Wyke has summoned the young man to discuss the affair he is having with his wife. Milo insists Wyke's wife is leaving him and Wyke is only too glad to let her go, he has a mistress of his own. But he wants the separation and divorce to be permanent; he doesn't want his ex-wife running back to him when Milo's money runs out. Wyke suggests Milo `break' into the house and steal some jewels worth One Million Pounds. Wyke has the name of a fence who will give Milo 800,000 pounds for the jewels and that should last them a while. Andrew has thought of everything. Milo agrees and Wyke uses his home's elaborate electronics and surveillance system to guide him through the process, to make it seem real.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Nikola on April 22, 2008
Format: DVD
Two terrific actors try to out-smart each other in "Sleuth", a re-make of a 70's movie starring Laurence Olivier and Michael Caine. This version also features Caine, but now he plays the "other" role, with Jude Law filling his shoes quite successfully.
Andrew Wyke (Caine) is a wealthy novelist living in a high-tech mansion, and he doesn't seem to mind horribly that his wife is cheating on him with Milo Tindle (Law). Milo comes to the mansion in order to discuss this arrangement, and also to persuade Andrew to sign the divorce papers. However, their very polite and sophisticated argument slowly evolves into something much more dangerous.
It is in a movie like this, that it is evident what terrific actors Caine and Law are. They are able to be interesting and versatile, so that when the score of their cat-and-mouse game turns, you actually believe it is the other man who suffers. His Royal Majesty, Kenneth Branagh, directs the movie with a firm hand, and it is very cathartic to watch all this talent go on display. However, I cannot bring myself to give it 4 stars, because of one 30 minutes-long scene somewhere around the middle, which is unbelievingly absurd, and obvious, and makes the characters look like they are blind/stupid/naive beyond reality. However, this doesn't make "Sleuth" bad - but it unfortunately makes it only a fun, engaging thriller instead of a perfect movie it could have been.
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Format: DVD
I didn't think it was possible for me to like the original version of SLEUTH (1972 with Olivier and Caine) more than I already do...but after watching this wretched mess of a film..I appreciate its greatness even more. While the stars all fawn over Harold Pinters script in the self congratulatory "making of"..I was left dumbfounded by their arrogance and stupidity. Fortunately the film going public stayed away in droves and the critical lambasting this film received was correct. I must admit I couldn't resist due to my love of the material and the original but it was a horrendous waste of time and I urge you to not make the same mistake.
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Format: DVD
Given the ongoing onslaught of remakes of films, both classic and trashy, that Hollywood has been overdosing on in recent years, there is an obvious impulse to label this new version of "Sleuth" a remake of one of the few films in history in which the entire cast was nominated for acting Oscars ("Give Em Hell, Harry!" would be the other; "Who's Afraid of the Virginia Woolf?" would be on the list too if they had not undone the inherent claustrophobia of Edward Albee's play with the unnecessary road trip). However, usually when you are "remaking" a play, you stick to the play. Such is the case with the various versions of classics like "A Streetcar Named Desire," where the changes between the Brando-Leigh) version and the one with Baldwin-Lange are relatively minute. However, what we have here is a reconcpetualization, courtesy of Harold Pinter. The key change is not simply updating Wyke's toys from games and puzzles to technology, but rather the way Pinter comes up with a totally new "third" act.Read more ›
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