Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Silk Stocking (2004)

     Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Silk Stocking (2004) [D: Simon Cellan Jones. Rupert Everett, Ian Hart] Written by Allan Cubitt, “based on” a story by Doyle, this is a good entry in the Holmes adaptations. The Doyle connection is the use of twins, but other than that, the story is original, and like many extensions of the Doyle canon, goes its own way. The test of its success is not faithfulness to the originals but plausibility of characters and setting. I think this aspect was well done.
     After the series with Simon Brett, it was difficult to create a plausible variation on Holmes. This one is softer and moodier, with hints of unfulfilled desires and deeper neuroses than Doyle’s character. The story itself, set in Edwardian England, uses new psychological insights to construct both Holmes’s character and the crime, which is serial killing. As a crime puzzle, the plot is so-so, relying on finger-printing and the insights of Watson’s fiancĂ©e, an American psychiatrist. Lestrade (played by Neil Dudgeon) is an up-to-date copper, his only failing is his bafflement when faced by perverse motivations for crime. Watson is more assertive and skilled as Holmes’s sidekick and assistant, and Holmes’s addiction both slows him down and puts him in a dream state that enables access to his subconscious insights. He’s not the cold, clear logic engine that Doyle’s admirers profess to see, and makes an almost lethal mistake.
     The online reviews are generally either positive or negative. Look on IMDb if you want to see the range of opinions.
     Overall, I liked this movie. It lacks the nervous energy of the Simon Brett versions, and the pace and complexity of the Cumberbatch ones. But it’s worth a look by anyone who likes Holmes. I give it **½.

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