Tuesday, 5 January 2016
SHerlock : The Abominable Bride
A wonderful BBC release .Here's my thoughts for Sydney Arts Guide http://www.sydneyartsguide.com.au/sherlock-the-abominable-bride/ SHERLOCK : THE ABOMINABLE BRIDE January 5, 2016 Lynne Lancaster Leave a comment John Watson and Benedict Cumberbatch play the master duo. The BBC has given us a fabulous holiday treat with this magnificent one-off screening taking place in cinemas around the world. Sherlockians will rejoice not just at the return of Cumberbatch as Holmes– cold , aloof, detached and enigmatic- but will enjoy picking up the references to various Holmes stories ( ie The Five Orange Pips , A Study in Scarlet…). This particular episode includes time travel to 1895, the period in which the original Holmes stories took place. It also includes references to the Paget illustrations. The Victorian period is lovingly, lavishly recreated in exquisite detail. It is also much fun comparing and contrasting the contemporary and Victorian 221B’s (and yes there is the Persian slipper, the VR bullet holes – and even a moose head with an ear trumpet! ). This is a ghoulish, gothic horror tale of murders, switched corpses, enigmatic, mysterious cults, and exhumations, where precise timing is critical. Straight at the beginning of the show, we see Victorian Holmes and Watson in their momentous first meeting ( ‘’You have been in Afghanistan I perceive’) and the duo are soon off solving mysteries. The game is afoot from the start… The narrative hinges on the following : a blood-spattered bride who has blown her brains out returns as a gun-wielding vampire like ghoul and kills her husband – after which several other husbands die in a chilling fashion. Defying logic, Emilia Ricoletti has apparently overcome death and, Houdini-like, mastered the secret of bilocation (her corpse was in the mortuary at the time of her husband’s killing). Holmes refuses to believe in a supernatural explanation … It is a case that had been unsolved for over a century and which contemporary Sherlock had tried to solve by journeying deep into his “mind palace” which we learn after an imaginary confrontation with his devilish foe Moriarty (chillingly , creepily played by a sinister Andrew Scott), who had shot himself through the mouth and yet lived. The tense confrontation scenes are marvelously played out. Plunging back to reality, Holmes finds himself on the plane into which he’d been unceremoniously bundled at the end of Sherlock series three. He now has a real mystery to solve – the apparent return of Moriarty – but is unable to give up his obsession with the Ricoletti deaths. Spoiler alert ! – Another twist is provided by Holmes as he disrupts and distracts a gathering of the female cultists (vengeful Suffragettes ) behind the Ricoletti killings. The “corpse bride”, he informs us, was created via lookalikes, effective make-up, and drawing room reflection magic. We are provided with another twist as Sherlock unfortunately digs almost too far into his ‘mind palace’ (drug induced ?) and finds himself caught in tense stand-off with Moriarty, at the fateful, iconic Reichenbach Falls. “When it comes to unarmed combat at the edge of a precipice you’re going into the water,” insists Sherlock. However it is mind-palace Watson who intervenes whilst Holmes drags himself out of his mind- palace (dream ?) by following Moriarty hurtling over the edge. Now almost traditional elements of the contemporary Sherlock were included such as Watson’s failed attempts, as they sat waiting for the ghostly bride to appear, to get Sherlock to talk about his feelings. Highlights include the beautiful simplicity of Sherlock’s searching for clues and summing up of his deductions (“Poetry or truth?” “Many people would say they’re the same thing.” “Yes. Idiots.”)…The in-jokes regarding the difficulties of writing people in and out of stories…The deerstalker becoming an expected, acknowledged prop. The script is excellent, the banter between Holmes and Watson terrific, with comic misunderstandings and wry exchanges, at times very barbed and sarcastic and at others quite revealing . “There is a woman in my sitting room – is this intentional?”, “Suicide street theatre, murder by corpse – Lestrade you’re spoiling us”, “It is NEVER twins Watson!” Martin Freeman as Watson is splendid, supportive and energetic. Benedict Cumberbatch as Holmes is superb in a definitive performance. It is interesting to note the two different period Mycrofts (Holmes’ brother, who ‘ IS the British government”) as played by Mark Gatiss. In the Victorian era segments he is , as stipulated by Conan Doyle , enormously toad like and fat , in the contemporary segments far slimmer and more refined. I liked the way in the Victorian segments that Mary Watson (delightfully played by Amanda Abbington)was also working for him. And the interactions between the two brothers was great fun. Una Stubbs revels playing Mrs Hudson. I also liked the ‘comic relief’ of Watson’s use of incorrect BSL at the Diogenes club. A new series of Sherlock is scheduled for release in 18 months or so. Holmes had a vision of the challenges to come . “Of course Moriarty is dead,” he said. “And I know exactly what he’s going to do next.” The credits began and we can’t wait for 2017 …. Running time just under two hours as there is a brief introduction and guided tour of the Victorian 221B by Steven Moffatt before the feature and interviews with the cast and ‘the making of ‘ afterwards. SHERLOCK : THE ABOMINABLE BRIDE screened at selected cinemas world wide cinemas last Sunday.