Ahoy, squirts! Quint here. I've wanted to catch the original (also starring Michael Caine) for a while now, so it looks like I'll have to dig that up soon if I want to get a viewing in before the remake hits. I also wanted to see another Caine '70s flick called PULP for a while, too... hrmm... double-feature material, maybe? Anyway, we got a review in from the Venice Film Festival of the remake and it sounds... really damn good! Beware of spoilers!
Hi Harry, Greetings from Venice! Last night I was fortunate enough to attend the world premiere of Sleuth which is a remake of a 1972 film of the same name. First some back story. Last year I was in Venice a week before the film festival started but had no chance to stay. After seeing the list of great movies that premiered here last year, I vowed I would not miss it this year. As a non-industry person, I wondered how hard it would be to get tickets to the event since it is after arguably the #2 festival in the world behind Cannes. Surprisingly, it was extremely easy. The festival is completely accessible to the general public for even the big premiers. It only took a couple of emails to buy passes. Now you may say, oh but Venice is so expensive and very hard to find a room. Well I will gladly tell you that there is a very easy way around it. I was able to rent my own apartment for a week 5 minutes from Saint Mark's Square for less than half the price of a hotel. Ok so now onto the review - Beware ****SPOILERS*** Adapted from a stage play of the same name, Sleuth stars Michael Caine and Jude Law and is directed by Kenneth Branagh. Caine and Law are the only two actors ever shown on camera for the entire film keeping the feel of a play. The story is about an old rich and famous author named Andrew Wyke (Caine) who has summoned his wife's young actor lover named Milo Tilmen (Law) to his estate for a meeting. In the 1972 original version, Caine actually played the role of Milo against Laurence Olivier's Andrew. The movie opens in black & white as we watch the events unfolding over the eyes of the estate's security cameras! It was an amazing cinema-graphic twist to show almost the entire first act from the point of the various security cameras on the house - some in color and some in black & white. It gives you the feel that you are spying into someone's life as the events unfold. As should come as no surprise, Andrew and Milo exchange quips about each other's personal lives. The best which Andrew repeatedly uses is to call Milo a hairdresser which is an homage to the original version where Milo actually was a hairdresser and not an actor. Simply put, its a masterful exchange of banter that could easily justify a Best Actor nomination for Caine or Law. After the banter, Andrew offers Milo a chance to make money to cover the expenses of supporting his money loving wife. He proposes Milo steal her jewels worth a million pounds. Funny how times change as the 1972 version had the jewels worth 100,000 pounds. Seems inflation has been bad in the past 35 years. After jumping through several hoops, Milo "steals" the jewels At which point, Andrew pulls out a gun and gets Milo to beg for his life. He then shoots Milo who we see collapse on the floor. The second act opens with another shot from the security camera as a car drives up. The doorbell rings with the arrival of a police detective who strangely sounds like Jude Law. The inspector humiliates Andrew to the point of him begging not to be arrested when Milo reveals himself from the makeup. To this point, the storyline is very similar to the 1972 version. It deviates massively with a very different ending in compression to the 1972 version and I will leave it at that. ***END Spoilers**** In short, Sleuth is an amazing example of what kind of performances you get when you lock 2 great actors in a room. Don't miss it. After the movie was done, the crowd gave it a 5 minute standing ovation during the credits. I don't know if this is typical or not but it was well deserved. I was fortunate enough to shake Ken's hand and congratulate him as he walked out the door. If you are a fan of the cinema, Venice is simply the show not to miss as this kind of access to the stars would never be possible in Hollywood. Tonight I will catch Redacted (Brian De Palma's new film) followed by Michael Clayton, the new Clooney flick. Tomorrow however is the uber geek experience with the premiere of Blade Runner - The Final Cut. Reviews of all to follow. -Mastidon