Cinema: Parlor Trick

SLEUTH

Directed by JOSEPH L. MANKIEWICZ Screenplay by ANTHONY SHAFFER

This is a fastidious, acrobatically cunning and invigoratingly well-acted thriller. It gently parodies the puzzles of what has come to be known as the golden age of detective fiction at the same time that it cannily manipulates them. That golden age, as a line in the script defines it, was "when every Cabinet Minister had a thriller by his bedside, and all the detectives were titled." To fully enjoy Sleuth, it is necessary to have an indulgent affection for this minor literary tradition....

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