The 2007 re-make of Sleuth is, unlike many re-makes, by no means a waste of time. For a start, the script is by the late Harold Pinter, who adapts the famous stage play by Anthony Shaffer with verve. The original film version starred Laurence Olivier as the novelist, Wyke, and Michael Caine as his young rival Milo. Now Caine plays Wyke and Jude Law is Milo.
Caine and Law have both played Alfie, and I noticed that Pinter managed to include ‘What’s it all about?’ as one of the lines – a nice joke! They both do a good job here, with Caine especially impressive. I really do like him as an actor.
Shaffer’s original play had quite a bit to say about the detective story form. Pinter largely abandons this, which is perhaps a pity. Shaffer co-wrote three very clever Golden Age mysteries himself, in the 50s. His co-author was his twin Peter, better known for Equus and Amadeus.
Overall, a fairly short, stylised and snappy film. The basic story may be familiar, but this version is distinctive enough to be worth watching. And you get the impression Caine and Law enjoyed themselves.