I managed to get a ticket to the New York premiere of "Sleuth" last week. The film starts Michael Caine and Jude Law as the two and only actors in the entire picture. It is a remake of a film that was an adaptation of a play. Harold Pinter helmed this latest incarnation.
I liked it.
The dialogue was witty. Michael Caine once again proved his knack for comedy. And, as a whole, the plot was driving. I thought.
But it is an interesting example of what is a relatively rare film: the filmed play. Essentially, that's what this was. A play. Some films based on plays take on a whole life of their own. They add characters. They add settings. They add whole realms of situations so that the play is lost, and all but the fundamental idea of the original work is preserved. This was not the case (neither was "Proof,"which came out a few years ago).
Maybe it's because I like dialogue, maybe it's just because I like to see films with big stars where people aren't just running around with guns the whole time. Maybe it's a combination of a lot of things. But, for me, whereas some people get bored out of their minds by films that are essentially plays, I enjoy them. I like listening to people speak. And, furthermore, I like seeing actors act. It's one thing to run around shooting an uzi the whole time. it's quite another to actually deliver lines that are more than a one-sentence hip catchphrase.
I'd recommend people try to see this film, for I feel it's one that works as a dialogue heavy, single-set film. Not all work. I think this one does, and it gives hope to the dialogue writer in me.