HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Bruce Lee & I
Doraemon The Movie: Nobita's Dinosaur
Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood
Invasion Planet Earth
Ferdinand
Buddhist Spell, The
Steel and Lace
Reivers, The
Angel Has Fallen
I Lost My Body
At First Light
Free Ride
Crawl
Transit
Blank Check
Mad Monk, The
Wind, The
Holly and the Ivy, The
Atlantique
Now, Voyager
Wolf's Call, The
Nostalghia
Nightingale, The
Eighth Grade
Irishman, The
Betrayed
Lords of Chaos
Operation Petticoat
Dead Don't Die, The
On the Waterfront
Last Faust, The
Moonlighting
Art of Self-Defense, The
Ironweed
Booksmart
Prisoners
Beach Bum, The
Kill Ben Lyk
Into the Mirror
Support the Girls
   
 
Newest Articles
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
Shit-Eating Grim: Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom on Blu-ray
Stallone's 80s Action Alpha and Omega: Nighthawks and Lock Up
Python Prehistory: At Last the 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set on DVD
You Could Grow to Love This Place: Local Hero on Blu-ray
Anglo-American: Joseph Losey Blu-ray Double Bill - The Criminal and The Go-Between
   
 
  Sleuth Puzzle TrailBuy this film here.
Year: 1972
Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Stars: Laurence Olivier, Michael Caine, Alec Cawthorne, Eve Channing
Genre: Thriller
Rating:  8 (from 3 votes)
Review: Owner of an expensive hairdressing salon, Milo Tindle (Michael Caine) has been invited to the country manor of mystery writer Andrew Wyke (Laurence Olivier). He has a spot of bother finding him when he first arrives, eventually tracking him down to the maze in the mansion's grounds as Andrew is dictating another novel at the centre of it. Milo calls to him, and his host obliges by revealing the secret revolving section of the hedge to allow them to meet face to face. And the reason for this meeting? Andrew wants to put a proposal forward to Milo since he is having an affair with the author's wife... but is he sincere, or is there a scheme of oneupmanship in his head?

Oneupmanship is the whole theme of Sleuth, a screen adaptation of Anthony Shaffer's long running and award-winning play. Shaffer, who also scripted Frenzy for Alfred Hitchcock as well as The Wicker Man, adapts his own material here in a twisting plot that ensures you're never sure of anyone's motives, and once you realise that the film becomes a jokey romp for the viewer, yet crucially never loses that steely glint in its eye especially with the seething undercurrent of class tension between the two men. It's not for nothing that Andrew's home is filled with Victorian-looking games and tricks.

In spite of the faithful wordiness, the filmmakers go quite some way to opening out the play by using various locations around the mansion, including the garden, to keep things visually interesting and Ken Adam's production design helps immensely. Every so often we're treated to a the blank stare of one of the dolls or the fitfully laughing Jolly Jack Tar (Olivier provided his chortle in a nice touch), as if silently judging the characters as they run rings around each other, adding an atmosphere of edgy creepiness to the proceedings that is at odds with the apparently rollicking plotting.

As the two leads, Olivier and Caine are more than a match for each other, and it's very rewarding to see them sparring with Shaffer's witty dialogue. What Andrew points out to Milo is that he cannot afford to keep his wife living in the style to which she has become accustomed under Andrew, and so has devised a plan to allow them both to earn a little cash. Quite a lot of cash, actually, and Andrew fancies himself as something of a criminal mastermind having thought up a theft of his wife's jewels from the safe that will work like a charm and fool the police.

But will it fool the audience? After you accept that nobody here is quite as they seem, it's possible to see through the tricks that they employ, particularly the central one. One the other hand, this simply adds to the fun, darkly comic as it is, with Milo donning a disguise of as clown suit to commit the robbery even as Andrew orchestrates it. While shrewd, neither of the two antagonists are quite as clever as they think they are, but the enjoyment arises from seeing how they will outwit each other and in a way Sleuth points out the manner that the traditional country house mystery beloved of the likes of Agatha Christie falls apart in reality through the plotters' arrogance. That said, this film still appears artificial as many plays adapted for the cinema can, although the inherent intelligence and fine performances are to be treasured. Music by John Addison.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 3925 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Andrew Pragasam
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
  Rachel Franke
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: