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Martin Freeman in Sherlock - The Ex-Communicator

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January 18th, 2012


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08:17 pm - Martin Freeman in Sherlock
I've enjoyed Sherlock, mostly, and I've enjoyed reading people's reviews of it. All I have to say is that in the final few scenes, Martin Freeman's acting made me feel great emotion, and I don't feel that very often when I'm watching the television nowadays. When he said 'Jesus, no' it reminded me of what it feels like when someone dies, and it's irreversible forever. Seriously, I was like some cyborg dimly perceiving human emotion: 'what is this water you humans call... tears?'

I think Freeman must be a deceptively good actor, because I can remember the great emotion I felt at the end of The Office, and I am wondering now whether he made that happen more than I realised at the time. I have tended to feel he is an amiable actor and a good person, who has been fortunate in the parts he has played. But now, seeing him transcend the material and give it an authenticity which I think it lacked in its words alone, I am wondering how much of the punch of The Office came from the extra shade of significance he added in his portrayal of Tim.

Two reviews which people might like to read 'off lj' are Dan Hartland here and Abigail here. Both express mixed feelings about the show, and leave plenty for discussion.

(23 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


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From:altariel
Date:January 18th, 2012 10:21 pm (UTC)
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I think there's nowhere near enough Martin Freeman in "Sherlock".
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From:communicator
Date:January 18th, 2012 10:34 pm (UTC)
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I probably pay attention to those bits more than the rest. It's a great double-act though.
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From:spacefall
Date:January 18th, 2012 10:24 pm (UTC)
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Very few actors capture Watson's inner life, but Martin Freeman nails it every time. It's just an incredibly high-res performance. I think Bert Coules gave the same attention to his best writing for Watson.

The thing I enjoy most in the series, whatever its flaws, is the way it shows what Holmes and Watson are to one another from the beginning. The way Holmes saves Watson without really understanding it, like someone scooping a stone into their pocket; the way he brings him back to himself when life had been slowly killing him. It's only a little later when the dirt has rubbed off that Holmes really sees what he has: something better and truer than he honestly knows what to do with - up there with the time he strolled into a broker's and walked off with a Stradavarius for fifty-five shillings. I think Freeman catches the very human strength and conviction that Holmes loves in Watson, under that Watsonian (ie deceptively ordinary!) exterior.
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From:communicator
Date:January 18th, 2012 10:33 pm (UTC)
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I love this kind of description of a show from somebody who has paid attention to it. What I mean is that I can see a story, or a programme, better through the eyes of another viewer, sometimes, than I see it immediately myself.

What you say about picking up a stone. Because you do that - I mean I do that - from some feeling of illogical affinity and then take it with me, for no reason. It's a striking image.

Edited at 2012-01-18 10:38 pm (UTC)
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From:altariel
Date:January 18th, 2012 10:40 pm (UTC)
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That's wonderful.
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From:happytune
Date:January 19th, 2012 09:30 am (UTC)
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What they said. I felt all emotional just reading the post.
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From:matildabj
Date:January 19th, 2012 11:34 am (UTC)
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Brilliant. Just perfect. As happytune said, it makes me feel quite emotional - you've encapsulated their relationship beautifully.
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From:storme
Date:January 18th, 2012 10:33 pm (UTC)
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Yes; I was struck by quite how heart-breaking the line 'I was so alone, and I owe you so much' was at the end, and it made me re-evaluate his acting skills rather sharply.
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From:communicator
Date:January 18th, 2012 10:36 pm (UTC)
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Yes, me too. And obviously a parallel with perhaps a sharp re-evaluation of the friendship by Sherlock, so it reinforces the thrust of the story.
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From:storme
Date:January 18th, 2012 10:45 pm (UTC)

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I saw an interesting observation on TVTropes: the episode puts a lot of emphasis on this: not only is John's Sherlock's closest (though, not, it turns out, only) friend, but John thinks of Sherlock as *his* closest friend in turn. That John is good for Sherlock seems like an obvious thing (having John around humanises Sherlock) but having Sherlock around has been a humanising experience for John too.

I've stayed out of the fandom debates over the series, because I'm not sure I'm able to fully articulate my responses (both negative and positive) to them, but I do think it's unequivocally wonderful to see exploration of complex human relationships in prime time television.
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From:despotliz
Date:January 18th, 2012 11:34 pm (UTC)

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Yeah, thinking about that observation and tying it in with Abigail's post linked above, I think that is the key thing - the show is at it's best for me when it is about Watson. A Study in Pink showed that John actually gets something out of this relationship too, and when that gets lost the show is less interesting - I like some of the character stuff in The Hounds of Baskerville, but it's harder to see why John puts up with all Sherlock's shit, and he gets a lot of it in that episode. The conversation with Sherlock on the roof was good, but Martin Freeman at the graveside and doing that little military half-turn before he walks away is astoundingly good, and it would be a shame if what he does got lost next to Cumberbatch's rather showier part.
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From:storme
Date:January 19th, 2012 11:26 am (UTC)
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That little military half-turn is, I'm told, the movement you make when you are dismissed by a superior officer.
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From:spacefall
Date:January 18th, 2012 11:53 pm (UTC)
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God yes. It's something that I feel so strongly in the original stories, but which rarely finds its way into adaptions. The bleakness in Watson when he first meets Holmes, and just what their friendship means to him. That line and its delivery were the cause of much keyboard-hammering on Sunday night.
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From:iainjclark
Date:January 19th, 2012 07:51 pm (UTC)
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Yes that line was the single most poignant moment this season I think. A great scene.
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From:kalypso_v
Date:January 19th, 2012 04:03 am (UTC)
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I remember once reading an interview with Martin Freeman in which the interviewer expressed surprise at finding him a rather angry person. Though I don't know whether that was his normal state or there was some particular reason for him to be in a bad mood that day.

I certainly think he's a fine actor.
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From:communicator
Date:January 19th, 2012 07:06 am (UTC)
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Well, he's a Socialist so he's got a lot to be angry about. I think that's like interviewers saying that feminists are angry: more a badge of honour than a mark against.
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From:kalypso_v
Date:January 19th, 2012 11:06 am (UTC)
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Good heavens, I wasn't suggesting it was a mark against! My point was that he may be a more interesting and complicated character than the "amiable" persona which, as you say, he projects.
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From:communicator
Date:January 19th, 2012 07:55 pm (UTC)
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Hee, sorry I should have known
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From:happytune
Date:January 19th, 2012 07:50 pm (UTC)
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FWIW I thought the scoring of the music during the death scene was superb. Very brave.
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From:communicator
Date:January 19th, 2012 07:56 pm (UTC)
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The music must have an effect on me, but I can't remember it at all now.

(PS I mean, I don't 'hear' it in the way that you do, or any musical person, it must affect me subliminally)

Edited at 2012-01-19 07:56 pm (UTC)
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From:happytune
Date:January 19th, 2012 08:54 pm (UTC)
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Re-watch it on iplayer and listen out. Very striking and courageous. Normally death scenes are accompanied by schmaltzy schmaltz. This was spiky and angular and discordant.
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From:gfk88
Date:January 20th, 2012 09:17 am (UTC)
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Yes, I do think that Freeman has been one of the best things about this show (and obviously by this I include what the writers have given him).

The Moriarty guy did a pretty good job too, I thought. He reminded me of Daniel Mayes in Ashes to Ashes - the urbane exterior with only brief glimpses of the insanity underneath, until near the end when it all just rips through.
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From:communicator
Date:January 20th, 2012 04:28 pm (UTC)
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I thought Mayes was great in Ashes to Ashes, a performance that was quite underrated. I wasn't such a fan of Moriarty, though he got better.

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