Tuesday, 4 December 2012
Sherlock Jr. 
Sherlock Jr. was a hilarious physical comedy alright, but more importantly, it was an astounding reflection on the medium of cinema itself, with all its illusions and artificialities. It starts with Keaton as a movie projectionist, an aspiring detective, and in love with a girl, only to be falsely framed by the film’s villain. Though decidedly funny till now, this is the point where the movie jumped to a different level altogether. Sad and heartbroken he falls asleep while projecting a film, and in his dream, he finds the movie’s characters replaced by the girl and the villain, and he, now an accomplished sleuth, enters into the movie by seamlessly blurring the ‘fourth wall’. Armed with skills, resourcefulness and infinite luck, he is now invincible, and through one deliberately impossible move after another, he beats the bad guys and wins the girl. The movie comprised of a host of incredibly dangerous stunts – he even broke his neck (albeit, not fatally) during one such stunt! It was also filled with brilliant slapstick comedy, deadpan humour, wit, and ironies, making it a laugh-riot. However, what spectacularly stood out was one breathtaking montage that was jaw-dropping in its ideation and execution – as he enters into the screen, with the bemused audience watching on (making the self-consciousness of the situation blatantly obvious), he suddenly finds himself at the mercy of a series of rapid cuts accompanied by drastic changes of locations. Such audacious yet loving techno-philosophical subversion of the medium has rarely, if ever, been achieved in the history of this artform. And yes, one must also watch the movie to realize what a terrific pool player he was.
Director: Buster Keaton
Genre: Comedy/Slapstick/Fantasy/Silent Film