Sleuth Starring: Michael Caine, Jude Law Director: Kenneth Branagh The film: What were they thinking? A simple remake of the 1972 thriller that starred Laurence Olivier and Michael Caine would have been one thing. But bringing in playwright Harold Pinter to rewrite the whole thing simply smacks of conceit. And no, guys, you haven't done a better job either. First time around, back in 1972, Sleuth worked because there was a depth to the characters, thanks to the strength of a screenplay that stuck close to Anthony Shaffer's Tony Award-winning play. Olivier had a certain menace and Caine his usual cocky charm. So the plot - ageing writer discovers his wife is having an affair with a young actor and so seeks his revenge - never asked you to suspend belief. This time around, unfortunately, the changes that Pinter has made push the boundaries of believability. Caine is solid, taking over from Olivier, but poor old Jude Law is left floundering. His character comes across as more gormless than anything. And while you can excuse any woman for fancying a bit of a tumble with him, whether she'd be willing to give up a life of luxury and security is another matter entirely. And so the tension the original had is lost. And the banter? Well, it just becomes a bore. You would think Law (above right with Caine) might have learned his lesson when he tried to pull on Caine's trousers in the woeful remake of Alfie. He still can't make them fit and fans can only hope this is not another sign of a career in decline. Law is worth much better. Behind it all is the hand of actor-director Kenneth Branagh, a dab hand at structuring such a 'theatrical' piece of work. What he fails to garner is that you need a little more when transferring these things to the big screen - your failings become all that larger up there - and for all Pinter's many talents, apart from a few trademark, acerbic flourishes, the to-ing and fro-ing this time around just wears you down. And there's an unwarranted smugness to the whole production that makes you feel - again - that everyone involved was of the opinion that they were making something really important. They weren't and it's little wonder why, on cinematic release, the film disappeared without a trace. The extras: Oddly, there are two commentary tracks - one with Branagh and Caine and one that finds Law on his own. They're no great shakes either and pretty much cover the same territory. The behind the scenes featurette at least gives Pinter a go, albeit briefly. Rounding out the choices is a small feature on the makeup used. Ho hum. The verdict: Sometimes people just can't leave well alone. If you've seen the original, don't bother. If you haven't, seek it out rather than submit yourself to this torture.