Thursday, June 24, 2010

In Haste: Sleuth (Redux!)

"That sounds threatening."
 "Does it?"
 "Doesn't it?"

I declare that there exist three perspectives in play here: the characters, the director, and the audience.

The young man, as played by Jude Law, arrives at the mansion of the old man, Michael Caine.  We watch as Law parks next to the only other car in the driveway.  Caine introduces himself by asking which car is Law's.  The little one.  Caine then informs him that the big car is his own.  So why then did he ask the question?  It appears to me that the script is inviting us to play a game along with the characters.  I took up that mantle and assumed I was being encouraged
to outwit the story itself.

Now, if the story is aware of my existence, if the director (the venerable Shakespearean enthusiast Kenneth Branaugh) is hoping to interact with the audience's role in the film, then he should expect a certain level of wit on the side of the observer. 

I assumed that this new Sleuth would itself assume that I was familiar with the old Sleuth film, or the various stage play aberrations therein.  If that indeed is the case then we should expect this evolved version, created over thirty years after the initial film, to tinker with the Sleuth brand.  I want to be challenged.  I want my eyes to be caught in awestruck wonderment.  I want to be challenged.
I repeat:
I want to be challenged.
Play the game on me. 

I was not challenged.  I fingered through the game like an old sock.  I repeat, I was not challenged. Or, perhaps too much was assumed of me, and the story evolved beyond my intellect.  In that case,
the joke is on me.

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