A Dead Film Walking, a zombie of a film, a shuffling Frankenstein's monster of a film, leaking electricity from its badly-fitting neck bolts, tragically whimpering at the pointless agony of its own brief existence.
I think the movie works best if you know the original and have a taste for goofy revisionism -- say, Hamlet as a giant Hawaiian luau with the final duel on surfboards, or Paul Anka doing a finger-snapping "Smells Like Teen Spirit."
Branagh, whose screen career with Shakespeare began on a high note with Henry V and has gone steadily downhill since, does a nice job keeping a stagebound piece relatively cinematic without resorting to the usual opening-up techniques.
Just when things should be getting exciting and complex, they become repetitive and predictable. Subtext becomes hint becomes statement becomes declaration. For once, Pinter is a little too easy to understand.
Closed-circuit cameras and electronic gadgets are so much in abundance, bathed in the coldest of blue lights, it's as if Branagh chose to film his Sleuth in a Best Buy warehouse.