Sunday, December 27, 2009

Holmes gets all twisted

I haven't seen the new version of Sherlock Holmes, directed by Guy Ritchie and starring Robert Downey and Jude Law as Holmes and Watson, respectively, but I have come across some whining from some reviewers about this film not treating the Conan Doyle creation with a sacrosant deference. It's a good time to insert the well worn notion from poet / esthetician Samuel Taylor Coleridge about the "willing suspension of disbelief"; as one enters into a relationship with a work that is an act of the imagination, one must relinquish their insistence that narratives be realistic, factual, or adhere to signifiers that merely reiterate the appearance of a world one already knows. The imaginative work should be judged on it's own terms, and from there one is in a better position to judge the relative success of the venture. The should go, of course, for those fictional figures, such as Sherlock Holmes , who's presence in in the culture seems known to us since before birth and who's exacting particulars needn't be , I don't think, cemented in place. The reputation, context and many particulars of Doyle's creation are not about to vanish from the earth; elaborations, embellishments,improvements, extensions, elisions, diminutions, and exacerbations of the character, are, in fact, what keeps us coming back to him; we have , in any event, seen quite a bit of Holmes as the pensive, reserved scientist thinking his way through a baffling series of murderous events, and it may be time,indeed, to see some bring the genius into the arena to bash the ruffians as well as baffle them. I would also like to see a Holmes/Batman team up movie , with the the two of them attempting to deal with a time warp crisis brought on by The Borg , who intended to infiltrate earth culture by assimilating a generation of Swiss watches. All this , of course, gets hopelessly complicated and lost until Thomas Dunson (John Wayne's character from Red River) appears on his horse and bitch slaps everyone into a stunned submission. After that, the sun will explode and there will no need to worry about the purity of any character, we needn't concern ourselves with the integrity of the text or author intentions, we can stop sniveling about canons and auteurs and Nobel Prizes and perhaps read books again, novels and poetry, and listen to albums again, all the way through, and perhaps take in a concert of music composed for instruments that don't required a power source to be heard. Wouldn't that be nice.