Sunday, April 7, 2013

In-Class Movie: Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Silk Stocking (2004)

“…but he looked upon aimless bodily exertion as a waste of energy, and he seldom bestirred himself save where there was some professional object to be served.”
--John Watson on Sherlock Holmes, “The Yellow Face”

Austin: Oh the agony. I look at the faces of children and I just......I'm sorry, pardon me. It's all just so sad. There are people out there who kill other people. I can't just take it.

Wow, I'm sorry. I just finished watching Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Silk Stocking and I'm still distracted by how melancholy Sherlock Holmes was in this story. There is no charisma, no intelligence, just lots and lots of brooding. He's more like a model than a great detective. He pouts, he looks forlorn, and even when he's in a (truly awful) costume the performance saps all the fun out of it. 

This not what I expected from Rupert Everett. I first saw him as the gay best friend in My Best Friend's Wedding and as the comical buffoon in Dunston Checks In. (I see everything, okay?) He's an actor who can easily be the life of the room, but in this he almost fades into the fog without any benefit. The presentation of the movie rests entirely on this performance. It's Sherlock, the mystery and the bad guy. That's what's holding up this movie and I think only one of those is any good.

This is a better performance.

I will go as far as to say this is the worst performance of Sherlock Holmes I have ever seen. The final confrontation is just embarrassing to watch because you have an acting contest where one is whooping the other without even trying. 

I could go on with more hyperbole about this too bland for comprehension performance but I really should check to see if we're on the same boat. Did you find something to latch onto with Everett's performance?

Leigh: It's almost as if Rupert Everett was told, "Pretend Sherlock Holmes is at a Vogue UK photo shoot  No smiling. No laughing. Brood, pout, realize the terror in the world." Maybe not Vogue UK because none of his clothes fit him at all. Unlike you, I don't see hardly anything. The only thing I know Rupert Everett from Inspector Gadget (I was age appropriate) and the trailer for My Best Friend's Wedding that was before some movie that I can't remember now that my playmates and I used to watch a lot. We were young and unimaginative and watched the same movies a lot. Don't judge. 

I'm sorry but this's just so.....excuse me for a moment.

While I didn't hate his performance as much as you did, I wouldn't say it's the best either. I did really enjoy this movie though, mainly because I got to play our favorite game, 15 British Actors. You might play it differently but when I spot an actor I recognize, I then try to name everything I know them from. I did this with multiple actors in this movie and it was the main reason I continued watching it. (Can you name the three actors who were also in Harry Potter movies?) 

I take it back, the main reason why I continued watching was to see how Michael Fassbender played into the plot. I figured since he has since become incredibly popular, he would play some important role in the plot. I was right. 

The plot itself was...interesting. It's definitely not like a traditional Holmes story but we've okayed others that were more modern takes. But this one seemed different. I think it's because the audience isn't allowed to try to solve the mystery. Every time there is a chance, Holmes or another character gets there first and tells the audience what is happening, aside from one key twist.

So the movie wasn't horrible. I'd say that Michael Fassbender made up for some of the flaws but what do you think? What do you think about that plot?

Austin: It was unfortunate for this movie that I watched the pilot episode to Hannibal the night before. The show was truly excellent because it hit all the right creepy notes within its respected subgenre. I didn't expect to see similar moments with Sherlock Holmes. Sherlock removing the titular silk stocking out of the girl's mouth was very reminiscent of The Silence of the Lambs. This was a plot that seemed to be responding to the increase in popularity of CSI shows and that didn't exactly gel with the Sherlock character.

You have something on your cheek. Stop screaming, I'm being helpful!

Ultimately Michael Fassbender is just a serial killer instead of a convoluted Sherlockian villain with a quirky plan. My words seem sarcastic for the latter, but those are way more fun to watch. The twist with (SPOILER) Fassbender being identical twins made my eyes roll, not just because it's overdone but because it's an easy way to write a mystery plot.

On the other hand, double the Fassbender made the last third entertaining. We did have to deal with Sherlock's godawful disguise--seriously it was stupid bad. Yet once we got beyond that sequence we get to have Fassbender acting way better than anybody else on screen. Yes, it was obvious that he was ultimately going to be the bad guy just like how I solved After the Thin Man when I noticed a young actor by the name of Jimmy Stewart. (Oh I guess spoiler for that one too....Whoops).

But if this was a movie that was so medically driven, why wasn't Watson better used? Also if this was a bigger success and they made more of these TV movies would you have continued watching?

Leigh: The twin thing is over done. I didn't like it with The Prestige and I wasn't a fan with Fassbender being the twin here. Like you said, it is a cop out. If it had been done interestingly, have one twin be the crazy one and the other have absolutely no idea at all that his brother is insane, then that would've added a more interesting spin to it. 

Watson is used at the beginning of the story to introduce the mystery to Holmes but then he's only ever used to see if someone is alright or dead. He wasn't even a good companion to Holmes. There's only one moment in the whole movie where Holmes and Watson actually seemed like friends and companions and it wasn't just Holmes bossing Watson around and Watson rolling his eyes at the whole ordeal. Watson was poorly written and underused which is sad because he's a good actor. 

Now your last question, would I have continued watching if they had made more? Maybe, if they had found their stride and Rupert Everett stopped posing and brooding all over the place. The one thing that this movie was lacking was the fun. At the end of a mystery, no matter how gruesome it is, Holmes has fun. It's his flaw, he enjoys the problems that most cringe at and are disgusted with. He doesn't have any fun in this movie and that's a problem. So if they had fixed that then maybe I would've continued watching. (Side note: They did make a Hounds movie with the same Watson and the actor who played the Duke from Moulin Rouge. I'm interested only because I love Moulin Rouge.) 

The song's afoot...

Next we deal with another set of twins and a sorta familiar plot.

And now Austin with the final word!:

Austin: Mopey!

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