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Film Critics: Today, December 13, winners from Dallas ForthWorthFCA, ChicagoFCA and Film Comment Magazine. Nominations from HoustonFCS, PhoenixCC. PhoenixFCS.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Sleuth


Wow, I wasn’t expecting this and totally blew my mind! Very good Mr. Branagh! Of course I have seen the 1972 version with Laurence Oliver and Michael Caine and have seen the play in the stage. So I was delaying to watch this movie as I knew the story and thought it was going to be a remake.

Boy was I totally wrong and gee, I’m so glad this is NOT a remake as is a contemporary reinvention of the original 1970 play by Anthony Shaffer done marvelously by the screenplay writer Harold Pinter. Chapeau to Literature Nobel Prize winner Pinter as he was able to do a totally different adaptation with the same story.

Marvelously directed by Kenneth Branagh this movie tells the old story about an aging writer (Michael Caine) that matches wits with the struggling actor/hairdresser (Jude Law) who has stolen his wife’s heart. But there are new more contemporary dialogues and accordingly to what I read, not even a single line equal to the previous version.

Perhaps it was only I but always thought there was something gay in this story and well I was so pleasantly surprised to find that this movie totally explores a gay situation that totally fits their new cat-and-mouse game playing. Splendid!

Jude Law is fantastic in this movie with an amazing performance that redeems him in my book from all the other not so good roles he has played; here he’s impressively and extraordinarily outstanding even when he's exuding high sexuality in so many moments. Sir Michael Caine is incredibly good playing the role that once Sir Laurence Olivier did and gee he does it so well that now becomes his in my memory, especially with the sights he gives Law in those gay moments.

What I loved the most was the house where everything happens -called by some as the third character in this movie and I totally agree- as it is not only incredibly beautiful, minimalist and totally tech, but also makes the setting even more darker and claustrophobic making everything a lot more interesting.

The movie was nominated for the Golden Lion in the 2007 Venice Film Festival where won a Queer Lion – Special Mention. This is not a crowd pleaser story or film, as is an only two actor on the screen movie and that’s always intense and here with the language and camera moves becomes more intense. If you have seen the play or 1972 movie I suggest you forget about it and try to see this one with “new” eyes, it probably will help you to enjoy it more.

Not everyone has liked the movie, but I sense that most critics tend to compare it to the multiple Oscar award winner and nominated previous movie; only those that see it as a new adaptation tend to give better reviews. Then this is a movie that did better at the box office in non-USA markets than in domestic.

Absolutely not for all audiences you have to like strong dramas, strong language and excellent performances in non-conventional cinema. Have to say that I liked this movie a lot.

Enjoy!!!

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