DVD Review of Sherlock– The Abominable Bride
(We have a DVD Review of Sherlock– The Abominable Bride by our film critic Christopher Chan who probes the depth of this hit tv series.)
Improbably but thankfully, the BBC series Sherlock, which transplanted Holmes and Watson to the present day and correspondingly updated some of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s mysteries, turned out to be a brilliant and marvelously entertaining program. Due to the increasingly busy schedules of its stars, there will be an extended gap between the third and fourth series, both three episodes each, so a standalone feature-length movie was created to satisfy fans who would otherwise have a very long wait.
The initial conceit of Sherlock, where the sleuth now lives in present-day London, is upended for The Abominable Bride. With no explanation, Holmes, Watson, and all of their friends are in the Victorian Era, though not all of them are quite the same as they are in the twenty-first century. The costumes and sets are a delight to look at, and the showrunners are clearly having fun transporting their heroes back in time and adjusting their visual effects to suit the earlier times. Indeed, most of the cast gives the impression that they are having a grand old time, with so many in-jokes that they appear to be forcing themselves to keep from winking at the camera.
As usual, there are plenty of references to the original Holmes canon that only avid fans will get. The title of the story comes from a fleeting reference to an unrecorded case in “The Musgrave Ritual” which mentions “Ricoletti of the club-foot, and his abominable wife,” but the plot of this telemovie is mostly from the imagination of the showrunners. One reveal towards the end is taken from one of Doyle’s short stories that may refer to Holmes in passing without mentioning him by name, much like The Empty Hearse from the third series drew upon “The Lost Special.”
The solution to the murders is ultimately less interesting than the realization that The Abominable Bride is the series’ deepest exploration yet into Sherlock Holmes’s mind. The show has always been interested in explaining how his brain works, whether it is through seeing his thoughts spelled out on screen or providing glimpses into his imagination. Now, we get a deeper look into his self-destructive tendencies, his troubles connecting with people, and most of all, how his work with Watson makes him a better person and detective. The explanation for the time warp is ultimately all the more satisfying because it leads to a fuller depiction of the showrunners’ conception of Sherlock Holmes and what makes him the man he is.
Sherlock– The Abominable Bride
BBC Home Entertainment