Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Review: "Sleuth" (1972)

Joseph L. Mankiewicz is one of those names that even people who aren't big movie fans might recognize. He was a legendary writer/director/producer in Hollywood and is responsible for one of THE all time classics: "All About Eve". But that's a review for another day. Today, we focus on his swan song.

The last film he directed was the perfect mystery thriller "Sleuth". Based on a stage play, the film involves a wealthy mystery novelist named Andrew Wyke, played by Laurence Olivier, and a beautician named Milo Tindle, played by Michael Caine, who is having an affair with the novelist's wife. Wyke has invited Tindle to his estate to "discuss" this situation, but it doesn't devolve into a fist fight. The novelist has a penchant for elaborate games and isn't unlike a child with an ant and a magnifying glass.

There is more, much more to this story than what I have said, but it needs to be seen, not talked about, to really be enjoyed. The secrets that are revealed are too good to give away, so you'll have to trust me on that. Furthermore, even after you have watched it once and know all the secrets, the film is still a joy to watch over and over again. The dialogue is juicy and both of the main actors are so much fun to watch. As Mankiewicz showed with "All About Eve", the man knew a sterling script when he saw one.

Alright, that's it. I'm not saying anymore. Go see it for yourself, and I promise you'll savor every bit of it.

Ten out of Ten

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