Is there a statute of limitations for 'spoiling' a movie? Is there anyone of passing cultural literacy who does not already know that the great man's dying words spoke of his fondest childhood memory, that the astronaut was on Earth all along, that the low-grade crook was making the whole story up off the bulletin board? And is there a certain point where you can't help but spoil a movie if you're going to talk about it honestly? And what if the movie under consideration is a remake?
Kenneth Branagh's new film of Sleuth brings all of those questions to mind. Based on Anthony Shaffer's play, previously filmed in 1972, Sleuth starts simple and stays small: The older Andrew Wyke is visited by the younger Milo Tindle. The older man has position, power, privilege; the younger man has none of those things -- but he is sleeping with the older man's wife. The younger man has come to ask the older man to grant his wife a divorce -- and, maybe, see what the old fool's made of. The older man is not willing to grant the divorce -- but, he might as well see what this young bastard's like. In the original 1972 version of Sleuth, Laurence Olivier was the older man, and Michael Caine the younger; now, Caine plays the cuckolded husband and Jude Law the bright young adulterer.