Posted by: ritagone | January 22, 2014

Sherlock and the Wolf

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You know I love films, love to watch them, savor them, think about them, and then talk about them to anyone and everyone who will talk back (or admittedly just listen to what I have to say!). I love it when someone has seen something that I already adore, so that we can compare notes as to why we love the movie or the TV series.  And in recent years TV series have rapidly become the equal of films in so many ways that it’s fair, I think, to compare them on the same footing.

That’s why the other day it occurred to me that there was an interesting comparison that kept running through my mind about “The Wolf of Wall Street,” which I had gone to see with a friend last week, and the long-awaited arrival of Episode 1 of Season 3 of the BBC series “Sherlock,” starring Benedict Cumberbatch.  (I’m not quite a Cumberbitch, but almost, which is what his female fans are called.)

For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of experiencing “Sherlock,” I’m so sorry.  It is one of the most entertaining, fun, interesting, provocative shows on television on either side of the pond, co-created by Steven Moffat (of “Dr. Who” fame) and Mark Gatiss (who also acts in the show as Sherlock’s audacious brother Mycroft).  In the States we have seen two complete seasons, with three episodes each.  Each episode is almost movie length, 90 minutes, which makes you understand why exactly there are only three of them per season.  They are so painstakingly done, so clever, with such attention to the music score and the technology and every little detail that you can’t take your eyes or ears away for one second while you’re in front of your television screen.  Those episodes make me glad I have a big television screen.

At the end of Season 2 there was a shocker which we viewers have had two years to try to figure out: Sherlock throws himself off the roof of a building, supposedly to his death, but we see a shot of him at the very end of the episode, so we know he’s not really dead, so….how did he do it?  For two years Sherlock fans have been gathering together online and in live small groups to speculate and formulate and have fun trying to guess at the trick: was it magic, was it a great and well-coordinated stunt, just how did he pull it off?  The hubbub around this question has been astounding, again, on both sides of the pond.  Even the show’s producers and actors have been amazed at the response to the end of Season 2 and the “death” of Sherlock Holmes.

So you can imagine the buzz about the Season 3 opener, when we knew Sherlock would eventually reveal himself to John Watson as alive and certainly tell him – and us, the audience – how he masterminded the fall and walked away from it.

Well, because the writers and producers are absolutely brilliant at creating fun and mystery, and because I won’t spoil the show by giving anything away, suffice it to say that we now know how he may have done it…and that will have to do.  As with many things Sherlock, we’re left still guessing, because we really don’t need to know the truth, so that our imaginations can continue to frolic through the possibilities.  These guys really do know how to leave something to be thought about and talked about for months and years to come, even after letting you know that they know the answer, but they’re just not giving it all up to us.  And I can live with that, quite comfortably.

On the other hand, there’s the 3-hour long “Wolf of Wall Street,” which I won’t spend a lot of time talking about here because I’ve already lost three hours of my life watching this film.  Suffice it to say that – in comparing it to the Sherlock series, which, as I said, my mind did for hours on end after seeing the season opener of Sherlock the other night – I realized that Sherlock manages quite brilliantly to entertain, to have fun, to challenge and to fill every second of viewing time with energy and pace and excitement without the use of or need for graphic sex, extreme violence, or language that would make a Baltimore street gang banger blush.  Apparently Martin Scorsese and Leonardo di Caprio believe – and unfortunately too many in the viewing audience pay money to validate their opinion – that people want their senses assaulted under the name of making a point: “Look, those ‘80’s were debauched and decadent, and in case you didn’t understand that, we’re going to visually paint the picture over and over again because you’re too stupid to get it by any other means.”  Or is that just an excuse for making what is closer to a pornographic movie than anything I’ve seen in a public movie theater in my lifetime?  Where do we go next with feature films?  I can only imagine.  I just know I won’t go there with them.

I’ll be home watching, I hope, Season 19 of Sherlock, episodes 1, 2 or 3, and being transfixed by the creativity and genius of the cast and crew while I’m being entertained and delighted beyond my expectations.

Needless to say, if you haven’t watched “Sherlock,” I sincerely hope you’ll become a fan.  You can stream the first two seasons on Amazon Prime Video or Netflix or you can buy the DVDs, but watch them any way you can, and then catch up with Season 3 as it plays on Masterpiece Theater on Sunday nights on PBS.

You won’t regret it, I promise.

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Responses

  1. Rita, I agree wholeheartedly with your comments on Sherlock. We have watched this new episode and will watch it again. There is so much to see and our senses are challenged to make our imagination guess at what is to come next. An exercise for our brain. Having heard the comments about The Wolf of Wall Street, I will not be seeing this as it is just more of the junk that they want us to believe is entertainment.


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