Sleuth | Chicago Reader


The 1972 movie of Anthony Shaffer's play was notable for being the swan song of director Joseph L. Mankiewicz; this one will probably be remembered for its script by Harold Pinter, who injects some of his signature pauses and straight-razor dialogue into Shaffer's story of a mystery writer (Michael Caine) taking revenge on his wife's lover (Jude Law). In a play full of surprises, the most delicious is the Pirandellian moment when the lover has been shot dead and the actor playing him immediately turns up in another role—a twist compounded here by the fact that the actor in 1972 was a youthful Michael Caine. Director Kenneth Branagh has mercifully pared the action down to 88 minutes (the first movie dragged on for 138), but the final act, with its obscure homosexual flirtation, still seems to go on forever.


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