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Sherlock: The Abominable Bride (2016)
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Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson find themselves in 1890s London in this holiday special.

Sherlock: The Abominable Bride (2016)

What is written writes itself

I can’t say enough good things about this.

Let’s start with what it is not. It is not rewarding long form filmmaking. It is TeeVee, and despite the rush of talent into TeeVee series, and their ability to engage, this will never be the sort of thing that we go to for lucid dream walking. The techniques I will be lauding here have been used for decades in films that matter, let‘s say for example by Ruiz. But never in the mainstream like this.

But this thrills me because it makes explicit folding the default for popular entertainment. Oh, it is masked by energy and OCD. And too much is ‘explained‘ by way of drugs, mind palaces and so on. But this is mainstream, big time popular stuff and its primary structure is that of folding.

We have a Victorian character set in modern times who is transported back to the referenced context. This is done by drugs, by an unrelated inner space of visualised ‘working out.‘ We have the reality, two realities in fact conflated with the stories written in each reality, sometimes shifting control. We have the fold that Conan Doyle put in, the one about Mycroft and Holmes directing each other.

And then there is the staging where reality and the account of reality are merged.

And we get it. We like it. Ten years ago, we were still in Mary Tyler Moore territory. A mass audience wouldn‘t follow these shifts in abstraction, these skips among parallel realities and creating spaces. I wish it were not served as a device to keep the attention of dopes that can’t pay attention. But it is sophisticated abstract reasoning nonetheless, and we didn‘t have that, even remotely when I was a kid.

Posted in 2016

Ted’s Evaluation — 3 of 3: Worth watching.

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