Sleuth Kenneth Branagh

Sleuth Kenneth Branagh
Based on the 1972 film, which in turn was based on the 1970 stage play, Sleuth is an interesting, though uneven, dialogue between a cuckolded husband and his wife’s lover. Kenneth Branagh brings his Shakespearian directorial style to the film but at times, the production feels a little overly dramatic and pretentious. When Milo Tindle (Jude Law) approaches his lover’s estranged husband (Michael Caine) on her behalf, requesting that he sign divorce papers, a strange game of manipulation and mental dominance begins. As the two men try to outthink one another and assert their supremacy they raise the stakes higher and higher, crossing into dangerous and bizarre territory. Michael Caine, who starred as Milo Tindle in the 1972 version of Sleuth (the role played by Jude Law this time around), has the unique opportunity as an actor to play both sides of a story. Caine’s performance as a manipulative, jilted husband is disturbingly uncomfortable, as he twists and manipulates Law’s character. Jude Law’s performance in the second act is the film’s highlight, showing that he’s able to play roles far outside the usual "smarmy British guy” he’s typically offered. The DVD is light on extras, with two commentary tracks, the more interesting of which has Michael Caine offering his insights on the new Harold Pinter adaptation, along with director Kenneth Branagh. There are also two short features, a fairly typical "Behind the Scenes” feature and another focusing on Jude Law’s elaborate make-up during part of the film. Sleuth will appeal to people interested in the art of acting and character development, though the slow pacing and stage-play style may not keep the attention of a mainstream audience. (Sony)