Sleuth appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The film came with a solid transfer.
Sharpness worked fine. A few shots seemed a smidgen soft, but those were in the minority, so the flick usually came across as accurate and well-defined.
I witnessed no shimmering or jaggies, and the image lacked edge haloes. Source flaws remained absent, as the flick came free from defects.
Sleuth came with a very subdued palette. Icy blues dominated, and a few other earthy tones made up the majority of the other colors, though some brighter lighting appeared during some shots. The hues were fine within the design constraints of the film.
Blacks were dense and dark, while shadows demonstrated positive delineation. The image satisfied.
Given the movie’s limited cast and restricted setting, I didn’t expect fireworks from the film’s Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundfield. Indeed, the film provided mild atmosphere at best.
Music formed the majority of the material from places other than the front center, though some ambient information popped up on the sides and in the rears. These instances were minor at best, so don’t anticipate much action on display here.
Audio quality was quite good, at least. Music showed nice range and vivacity, as the score was lively and full.
Effects were also accurate and clear. They didn’t often show much ambition, of course, but they were good representations of the material and showed good life.
Speech sounded concise and natural, with no edginess or other issues. The audio of Sleuth got a “B-“ due to its limited soundfield, but the sound was perfectly acceptable for this story.
How did the Blu-ray compare to the DVD version? Audio showed a little more range, though the limited nature of the soundfield held back improvements. On the other hand, visuals showed a clear upgrade, as the Blu-ray boasted superior definition and colors.
The Blu-ray duplicates the DVD’s extras, and the prime attraction comes from two separate audio commentaries. The first includes director Kenneth Branagh and actor Michael Caine. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific look at sets and production design, cinematography, comparisons with the original flick, script and story, performances and rehearsal, music, and a few other production topics.
While not a great conversation, the commentary proves reasonably enjoyable. The track sags at times and suffers from a bit too much happy talk.
However, we get some nice insights into the film, and I especially like Caine’s notes about the original movie. This is a moderately above average piece.
For the second commentary, we get actor Jude Law all on his own. He offers another running, screen-specific discussion of about his approach to the character, working with the others, performance notes and various production issues.
Inevitably, Law repeats some material from the first commentary. He also falls silent a little more than I’d like, though not to a significant degree.
Nonetheless, Law manages to hold his own during his chat. He gives us some interesting facts about his work, especially when he gets into his mid-film transformation.
In particular, I like his remarks about makeup, costumes and other gimmicks. Law proves engaging and likable in this generally useful commentary.
Two featurettes follow. A Game of Cat and Mouse: Behind the Scenes of Sleuth lasts 15 minutes and provides remarks from Branagh, Law, Caine, and screenwriter Harold Pinter.
After two commentaries, we’ve already learned a lot about Sleuth, and some of that information repeats here. Nonetheless, we get a few new notes, and the footage from the set helps.
I especially like the rehearsal images and some other glimpses behind the scenes. This is a moderately fluffy but generally interesting show.
Next comes the two-minute, 34-second Inspector Black: Make-Up Secrets Revealed. It includes remarks from makeup artist Eileen Kastner-Delago, as she tells us about all the components used to create the Black character.
Despite its brevity, it provides a decent overview of the techniques. It helps that Kastner-Delago is super-gorgeous – she can talk about whatever she wants and I’ll listen!
The disc opens with an ad for Steep. The trailers area adds promos for The Jane Austen Book Club, Saawariya, Across the Universe, We Own the Night, 30 Days of Night, Closer and The Holiday. No trailer for Sleuth shows up here.
On its own, I think the 2007 Sleuth has its moments, but it can’t quite emerge from the shadow of the original film. That one proves much more entertaining and makes it tough for the remake to stand for itself. The Blu-ray provides very good picture and decent audio along with a few reasonably interesting extras. This is an acceptable release for a moderately enjoyable movie.
To rate this film, visit the original review of SLEUTH