Also out on DVD this week, previously reviewed: An Education, about a schoolgirl's coming-of-age in early 60s London, and The Baader-Meinhof Complex, the true story of the Red Army Faction, a group of radical terrorists in West Germany.
He never says "Elementary, my dear Watson" and never once dons the infamous double-billed hat. He smokes a pipe, occasionally anyway, yet trades unflappability for a frenetic messiness which allows his peerless skills of deduction to remain the calm at the center of the storm. Remaining a bachelor, he nonetheless has a love interest, a criminal to boot; but he does not let his heart distract his mind (shades of "I hope they don't hang you, precious, by that sweet neck."). He retains a faith in the remarkable powers of reason to knock down walls and illuminate the hazy, even in the face of a supernatural foe. It's Sherlock Holmes, all right -and that we accept Robert Downey, Jr.'s reinterpretation of the character (or is the word now "reboot" - speaking of which: a "reboot" of Jurassic Park? Seriously?? But I digress...) indicates the degree to which some fundamental aspect of Arthur Conan Doyle's sleuth transcends his common pop cultural trappings. Downey, director Guy Ritchie, and a bevy of screenwriters bend and twist Holmes with enough force to make Gumby snap, yet Sherlock remains Sherlock.