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SLEUTH

Based upon the Anthony Shaffer play, the 2007 update of SLEUTH ($39) offers an enjoyable mixture of the old and the new that delivers an evening of fun and games, which includes, humiliation, one-upmanship and murder. Screenwriter Harold Pinter modernizes and streamlines the story; director Kenneth Branagh adds a lot of visual interest to what is essentially a two-man, single set play, while actor Michael Caine, who played Milo Tindle in the 1972 film version of SLEUTH, now takes on the role of Andrew Wyke.

The premise of SLEUTH finds aging mystery novelist Andrew Wyke inviting his estranged wife’s young lover Milo Tindle (Jude Law) to his country estate to discuss a proposition that would benefit them both. Andrew professes that he wishes to be rid of his wife, as much as Milo wishes to marry her, but he knows that the penniless actor could ill afford her extravagant tastes, so Andrew proposes that Milo steal his wife’s expensive and heavily insured jewelry- yielding each a financial reward. Of course, Andrew’s proposition proves to be pretense, which leads the two men into a game of cat and mouse, where there can be only one winner. Branagh’s inspired direction keeps thing moving without the proceedings becoming stagy, plus the performances are just terrific. Michael Caine never disappoints and Jude Law is at the top of his game- together the sparks fly nicely.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has made SLEUTH available on Blu-ray Disc in a 2.40:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the AVC codec. The wonderful looking 1080p transfer shows off the film’s excellent production design and the numerous close-ups deliver excellent detail. Medium shots are a little softer due to slightly diffuse and smoky cinematography. Colors are fairly vivid and are usually on the cooler side, due to the way the setting is lit. However, flesh tones always appear true to life. Blacks are silky and deep, while the whites are totally crisp. Contrast is very good, as is the shadow detail, plus the image has a nice level of depth. There is some mild grain present throughout, which gives the presentation a movie like quality.

SLEUTH is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel Dolby TrueHD soundtrack. The soundtrack is the one area of the production that can’t hide the stage bound origins of the material, as one really can’t disguise the fact that that main component of the track consists of two actors talking to one another for ninety minutes. There are some effectively placed sound effects, but they are fairly far between. However, the one area where this track never fails to impress is in the area of music fidelity. Patrick Doyle’s score sounds terrific, with the tango like theme complementing the "dance" that the actors perform around one another. Spanish and Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks are also provided, as are Spanish and Portuguese subtitles.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the disc’s interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as a few nice extra features. There are two running Audio Commentaries; the first is with Kenneth Branagh and Michael Caine, while the second features Jude Law. Featurettes include A Game Of Cat And Mouse: Behind The Scenes Of Sleuth (fifteen minutes) and Inspector Black: Make-Up Secrets Revealed (two minutes).

SLEUTH is an enjoyable reworking of the Anthony Shaffer play. Sony’s DVD looks and sounds terrific. Recommended to Caine, Law and Branagh fans.

 

SLEUTH 


Sleuth [Blu-ray] (2007)

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DVD & Blu-rayDisc reviews are Copyright © 2008 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.


 

 

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