A case of (mistaken) identity

Sherlock Holmes

Starring Robert Downey, Jr.,
Jude Law, Rachel McAdams
Directed by Guy Ritchie

Critic Holmes: Indubitably!

Critic Watson: How’s that, Holmes?

CH: Watson, I have just solved the case of Sherlock Holmes, the new movie!

CW:: Poppycock, Holmes! No one can crack the enigma of that movie. It’s impossible, even for you.

CH: Ah, but Watson, I have. And I can prove it.

CW:: Oh, here we go…

CH: Did you not watch this flick with me the other night?

CW:: Of course. You know that I did, Holmes. What of it?

CH: And did you not purchase some popcorn?

CW:: Are you daft? Indeed I did. You even had some.

CH: Well, you did purchase a mega-sized bucket, my portly good doctor, and
I very well couldn’t allow you to add to your health troubles by having you scarf down the whole thing by yourself now, could I?

CW:: You are quite the humanitarian, Holmes. But can we get back to the matter at hand?

CH: Quite right, Watson. The game is afoot. I mention the popcorn because it shows, indisputably, that this film is, in fact, what they call in the film trade publications a “popcorn movie.”

CW:: You mean….

CH: That’s right, Watson. Sherlock Holmes, that most venerated of literary sleuths — who has been imagined as a stuffy, cerebral sophisticate — has been placed in a film that not only can be construed as worthy of such a buttery snack, but worthy of a mega-bucket size one at that, so as to last the entire length of the film. Witness your very own purchase.

CW:: Astonishing! But what does it mean?

CH: Glad you asked, Watson. I will now provide you a series of additional clues presented in this film that will all add up to one incontrovertible conclusion. A conclusion so dastardly, so sinister, so unnervingly and yet so mesmerizingly entertaining, so...

CW:: Oh, get on with it Holmes!

CH: Right. Clue number one: Do you recall a towering mountain of a man in the film who menaces Mr. Holmes and his companion, a Dr. Watson?

CW:: You mean the big lummox who was one of the villain’s thugs and who could not be taken down no matter how hard or how many times Holmes and Watson would level fisticuffs and fusillades on his person?

CH: The very same. Does he not remind you of someone? Someone whom you have seen in other films with a suave British main character?
CW:: Hmm. I’m not following you, Holmes.

CH: Well, then, what about the fact that the Sherlock Holmes of this film has an amazing knowledge of many things both technological and sociological and equally amazing powers of observation and deduction — but especially related to matters of women and violent rows?

CW:: Yes, Holmes, I did notice that. His tussles with villains and their henchmen were quite thrilling.

CH: Uh, yes. I assumed you would notice that, Watson. And did you not also observe the many elaborate gadgets and gizmos that the inspector and his companion — as well as the villains — have at their disposal to battle each other?

CW:: I thought they were quite ingenious, if I do say so myself, Holmes.

CH: Even though the film is set in 19th century England?

CW:: You don’t say!

CH: And did you not notice the tussles that our intrepid Mr. Holmes and his sidekick Dr. Watson have with the police? And even the many double-crosses within these very same security forces?

CW:: Now that you say so I did notice that, and I must say it had me a bit confused…

CH: And do you recall a scene where Holmes is found naked on a bed in a woman’s boudoir?

CW:: Shocking!

CH: Yes, even more so when we learned that this woman, who is seemingly supportive and amorous toward Holmes, is also in cahoots with the
arch-villain.

CW:: (Gasp!)

CH: And did you spy all of the sly and clever witticisms designed to increase Mr. Holmes’ swagger and charm?

CW:: He did have me giggling every so often, Holmes.

CH: And I heard you do just that. But do you remember all of the elaborate chases through the cobblestoned streets of London, the thunderous pyrotechnics, the exotic locations, the secret labs where nefarious workings were afoot, and the villains sitting in chairs in darkened rooms spinning their elaborate plots with seemingly endless supplies of personnel and equipment, and…

CW:: Yes, yes, yes. Holmes. Can you get to the point?

CH: Isn’t it obvious, Watson?

CW:: You mean…

CH: It’s elementary, dear Watson. Sherlock Holmes is none other than…James Bond! 007 himself!

CW:: Outstanding, Holmes! But, there’s one thing that I still cannot quite figure out.

CH: What’s that, my good man?

CW:: Whether you liked the film.

CH: The answer to that, my dear Watson, will have to wait for the inevitable sequel.

CW:: Ah, yes. Quite.

Doug Young is The Statesman’s award-winning film critic. He also works for Sen. Mark Udall as an environmental policy adviser.