Milo Tindle (Michael Caine) is in love with Maguerite, wife of older, wealthy Andrew Wyke (Laurence Olivier). The two men meet at Andrew’s gaudy mansion (complete with hedge maze!) to discuss their situation. They end up playing a ‘game’ where they take turns humiliating and scaring the shit out of one another. This really has nothing to do with Maguerite, though she connects them. Both actors are extraordinary, charming even at their blackest. It was a lot of fun to watch the characters switch between panicked desperation and malicious glee. Andrew’s bizarre collection of figurines will definitely haunt me in my dreams! Scarecrow, my local video store, has the DVD format on ‘rent by approval’ with a fat $200 deposit. Totally worth it.
This remake roughly follows the old plot with Milo (Jude Law) in a power struggle with Andrew (Michael Caine). But this time they’re in a chrome mansion with high tech cameras. Caine’s Andrew Wyke is still a rich eccentric, but much colder, less colorful, and lonelier than Olivier’s Wyke. The loneliness becomes more apparent as Milo gets crazier and nastier. I’m not a fan of Harold Pinter or Kenneth Branagh but some of the alterations are clever and necessary to give it a different feel from the original. I’d say this Sleuth is interesting, but not nearly as special and full as the ’72 version.