The Borgified Corpse wrote:
In the 2nd place, it has fuck all to do with the characters that Arthur Conan Doyle created. It's not really a Sherlock Holmes story. It's just a movie that used Holmes as a vehicle to examine recent historical theories about Jack the Ripper.
It's Sherlock Holmes solving the Ripper case; an extremely common scenario in post-Doyle novels. And I think it's a pretty intelligent examination of what has become a fairly common conspiracy theory.
It's got a strong Holmes, and James Mason's Watson I thought was one of the better versions of the character (certainly of those who use the chubby Watson as their basis).
And then there's Donald Sutherland playing a psychic for some reason. For Holmes to pay any legitimate attention to a psychic at all is completely antithetical to the character. Honestly, as far as authentic Holmes stories go, you'd even be better off with Young Sherlock Holmes.
Sutherland's character is in it because he was a real person who was involved with the Ripper case.
And Holmes in the novels never dismissed the supernatural outright; he was open to the idea in The Hound of the Baskervilles
, for instance, but insisted on examining all other avenues, and said that if it was true, there wasn't anything he could do about it. And particularly since Doyle himself later became a spiritualist, I don't think him examining a psychic who claims to have information is some great problem.