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The Anthony Shaffer play originally brought to the screen in 1972 gets the remake treatment in this updating that finds Michael Caine stepping into the role of the brilliant thriller writer portrayed by Laurence Olivier in the original, and Jude Law following in Caine's footsteps as the young hairdresser who steals the literary giant's wife, only to find himself subsequently swallowed up in an elaborate revenge scheme. Kenneth Branagh directs a script adapted from Shaffer's original play by screenwriter Harold Pinter. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi
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© Sony Pictures Classics

Available Online

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 36%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Director Kenneth Branagh has mercifully pared the action down to 88 minutes (the first movie dragged on for 138), but the final act... still seems to go on forever."
‑ J. R. Jones, Chicago Reader
"It doesnt work, and the reasons why are no mystery, no mystery at all."
‑ Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel
"It requires a light touch; I admire Branagh a great deal, but not for his light touch."
‑ Walter Chaw, Film Freak Central
"Once the homosexual subtext is brought to the surface, everything seems to be a joke. Are they gay, kidding, or just considering?"
‑ Brian Holcomb, PopMatters
"What this Sleuth lacks in enthusiasm it makes up in character-driven menace."
‑ David Cornelius,
"Kenneth Branagh's direction, its self-consciously skewed angles and surveillance-cam cutaways highlighting his weakness for the misplaced flourish, is more of a hindrance than a help."
‑ Trevor Johnston, Time Out
"This film wants only to entertain, and other talents have gathered with Pinter to help."
‑ Stanley Kauffmann, The New Republic
"Idly plotted then tempered by a blunt ending. All of a sudden the viewer is left pondering 'eh?' as Pinter apparently run out of room on his pad."
‑ Chris Laverty, Clothes on Film
"Fans of the original should stay away."
‑ David Stratton, At the Movies (Australia)
"Despite Branagh's every attempt to capitalise on the intimacy of the cinematic medium with (intrusive) close-ups, the direction is heavy handed; the result being a dramatic, but emotionally cold experience"
‑ Urban Cinefile Critics, Urban Cinefile
"Director Kenneth Branagh clearly is having fun navigating Tim Harvey's slick set design, but eventually the characters' deadly competitiveness becomes tedious."
‑ Sean Means,
"It sounds so promising. It plays so disappointing."
‑ Tom Long, Detroit News
"Pinter's pauses, and the dour air of so much of the interplay, just don't fit on a story that's this slight."
‑ Alonso Duralde, MSNBC
"The script includes a verbal motif that reminds us of what binds the film's four central talents together: 'I want to show you something.' [Blu-Ray review]"
‑ Peter Canavese, Groucho Reviews
"Goofy art house tendencies (including an ill-thought dalliance with homo-eroticism) trigger a few giggles, yet the clever, crisply-acted power struggle seizes your attention"
‑ Amy Nicholson, I.E. Weekly
More reviews for Sleuth on Rotten Tomatoes