This was originally written and posted on March 1, 2006.
A delightful plot-twisting mystery starring Michael Caine, Laurence Olivier, and nothing but Michael Cain and Laurence Olivier – albeit in two roles for Michael Caine. It is essentially a showcase for both actors, and it is quite a show they put on.
The plot gets complicated, but essentially Olivier plays a mystery writer in the vein of Agatha Christie. Michael Caine has been having an affair with Olivier’s wife. The two meet at Olivier’s house to discuss the state of things. Fiendish plot point after another and things get sinister and fun very quickly. There isn’t much more to say, for letting the twists and turns come as they are is half the fun.
Director Joseph L Mankeiwicz manages to adapt what was originally a successful stage play into the cinema very well. He uses his set pieces as supporting actors. There are dozens of games lying about Olivier’s house, and nearly all of them play some part of the plot.
Though the DVD seems to be out of print, Sleuth is well worth tracking down at the local library or video club.