Monday, June 14, 2010

Sleuth (1972): review


Michael Caine and Laurence Olivier star in a leisurely, probably overlong, film with two parts, concerning humiliation, vengeance and social class in England.

The film has dated badly and it's hard to understand the class tensions that animate Caine's resentments. Moreover, the relations between the two aren't close enough for the Pinteresque role-exchanges occuring during the film.


  1. I just heard a story on NPR today about how the end of the class system in England is an illusion illustrated by the difference between crappy public school and private school. brian eno said he came to the u.s. to live because in england they still expect one to be one thing and fit into one category. what was that movie with christopher reeve that was similar? anyway, i never thought oliver was all that great as an actor- too hammy

  2. The class system is alive and well, and as you say, sustained in part by private schooling. I don't know where you heard that the class system in the UK had disappeared: it certainly hasn't. Briefly between the war and the mid-seventies British society levelled out: this tendency has since then reversed.

    Contrary to Brian Eno, I really don't think the UK is a conformist culture: it did after all produce his own, amazingly un-conformist Roxy Music, and a host of other unusual acts. Brazil, where I live now is considerably more conformist.