Movie review – Sherlock: The Abominable Bride directed by Douglas Mackinnon

Movie info:

If you watched three previous seasons of BBC’s Sherlock starring Benedict Cumberbatch, you need hardly any info and, I bet, you would guess easily the plot. It’s about Holmes, his drug addiction, his friendship with Dr Watson, his tough brotherly love with  Mycroft and, finally and eventually, about a murder mystery. Still this time the mystery seemed to be really good: a dead woman shot her husband. Was it possible at all? One major difference: this special episode is partially set in 1890 London.

What I liked :

  • The setting. Say what you might but the grim reality of the 19th century London somehow suits Holmes the best. Perhaps I like fog, smog, bowler hats, hansom cabs and gaslight too much for my own good but I did have a lot of fun with that.
  • Some aspects of the plot.  This time, imagining himself back in the 1890s, Sherlock was visited by a tormented Inspector Lestrade, after newly-wed Emelia Ricoletti, having apparently killed herself in public, murdered her husband in front of witnesses, a policeman among them. How could a dead woman murder anybody? Or maybe she wasn’t so completely dead? It was a great premise with a lot of potential although I admit there have been already too many ‘dead but not dead’ moments in the whole series. I hoped this one would be special and at the beginning it was.
  • The sense of humour. Bantering between Sherlock and Watson has never been better or funnier. Mrs. Hudson, played wonderfully by Una Stubbs, also added vastly to my enjoyment. The telegram reading scene was simply delicious!

What I didn’t like: 

  • The second part of the film and practically everything in it. Really the whole premise went to dogs (or cats as says my faithful Yorkshire terrier) as soon as Sherlock came nearer to solving the abominable bride mystery which proved to be no such a big mystery at all.
  • Proto-feminists as a cult? Purple clothes with Ku-Klux- Clan-style hats? A gong? A kind of ‘black’ mass (or rather ‘purple’ mass) in a church? All of this performed ostensibly by the most sensible, the cleverest and the most organized representants of half the population of England? WTF Steven Moffat? Are your mommy-issues really that pronounced?
  • Inception-like senes near the end (I did mention the ending sucks, right?). Don’t get me wrong: I liked Inception, the movie directed by Christopher Nolan, I really, truly did. I even wrote a review. Still while some of its tricks worked in a very specific setting just fine the same tricks seemed to be nothing more than convenient shortcuts utilized by the director to tie up all the loose ends of the story – the sooner the better. I didn’t appreciate such a shoddy approach, not at all.
  • Mary Watson. I don’t know exactly in what direction her character is going but I am more and more sure that direction is wrong. She is not a strong female character, she is more of a caricature of that and let’s face it, this series could do with a strong female character. Or two.

Final verdict:

Watch it if you have an opportunity but don’t regret it if you didn’t manage to get the theatre tickets in December. You didn’t miss a lot and the movie will be showed on tv for sure.

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10 Responses to Movie review – Sherlock: The Abominable Bride directed by Douglas Mackinnon

  1. heidenkind says:

    So, I saw this two times – once on tv and once in the theater, and on the second viewing I noticed so many more things that really helped set up the Inception-esque plot and made it more of a love letter or Christmas present to people who enjoy the original books. I just enjoyed the hell out of it. Yes, the ending with secret society of suffragettes was suuuuuuuper dumb, but points for trying I guess? Moffat and Gatniss are not exactly known for their feminism. At least Mrs Hudson got a few (very good) lines in.

    And yes, Benedict Cumbrrbatch fits in perfectly with the Victorians 🙂

  2. Melfka says:

    Well… I’ll wait for the DVD version then. :>

  3. Carole Rae says:

    I am curious, but I’ll prolly wait for it to go to DVD and/or Netflix.

  4. blodeuedd says:

    I have never liked Sherlock

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