1. Ashley Harrison
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    Ashley Harrison Active Member

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    The hidden subtext in the film and play 'Sleuth'.

    Discussion in 'Entertainment' started by Ashley Harrison, Mar 2, 2016.

    'Sleuth' was originally written as a play by Anthony Shaffer in 1970. I've never seen it performed as play unfortunately. It was made into two films, in 1972 and 2007. Both starring Michael Caine, except he plays the older character in the 2007 film. I enjoy watching the newer version (the screenplay is written by Harold Pinter) because of the interaction and dynamics between the only two actors, for the entirety of the film. I think it works on a number of different levels and isn't easily compartmentalise, into any one genre.

    I must be missing something because I can't figure out, no matter how many times I watch either film, what the underlying subtext of the narrative is?

    Can someone help me, that has seen and thinks they understand 'Sleuth', explain their interpretation of what the hidden subtext might be, between the two characters please?
     
  2. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    I don't think anything is really hidden in Sleuth it's all pretty straight forward - two men get caught up playing games to the point where the prize - the woman - becomes unimportant. There both pulling power plays with each other trying to humiliate and get in the last play. That's their goal though they're pretending the issue is about the woman.

    The newer version just added a gay twist to further distort the players - is it for real or another layer to the game. The viewer never knows because of the abrupt ending.

    * added thought - in the new version the set feels so cold that there is a sense of loneliness between the two characters. And is perhaps the force that has driven them together. Or maybe loneliness on Caine's part and greed on Law's part. Law is rather turned into a gold digger. And Caine dangles his riches like a sugardaddy. Could be that they've come full circle into duplicating the courtship between Caine and his wife.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2016
  3. Ashley Harrison
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    Ashley Harrison Active Member

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    There is a sense of homoeroticism about the 2007 film, that's not why I prefer it to the 1972 version. It's the way they compensate for a film which consists of two actors bouncing off one another. The reason for the constant one-upmanship is confusing as to what motive, each of the men is trying to pursue. I thought there was a secret undertone I was overlooking, as to why it left me thinking, I kind of get it but still feel perplexed.

    Thank you for letting me in on the puzzling message. :)
     

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