O Xangô de Baker Street (2001)

“O Xangô de Baker Street” (2001)


folded comedy

When you have good writing, you don’t need that much to have a good film. And this film has excellent writing. I’m talking about the dialog lines, they are perfect in how they evoke the despicable little bourgeois society of the imperial Rio de Janeiro, which actually mirrors the contemporary mentality of the Brazilian (and Portuguese!) people. Jô Soares is a good comedy writer, one who tackles grotesque society themes and contradictions, and remakes them into interesting cartoons.

He is not a true screenwriter, and his great experience (and quality) is as a television writer, which basically means he writes episodes, without a large form. But here the episodes he wrote in the novel work because he cleverly used a few story elements that binds everything together, and those elements are themselves funny in a layered way, meaning that if you know something about Holmes, Jack the Ripper, and Caipirinha, you will smile at the thing.

So absolutely everything is a joke. The “crimes” are a cartoon, the Stradivarius bit is social critic, the serial killer is funny, and Sherlock’s endless and pointless deductions are as awkward and ridiculous as the very situations he investigates. If Holmes was already in its origin a cartoon of a certain ultra logic way to see the world, than this Holmes is the cartoon of a cartoon. Watson is what is supposed to be. The Ripper connection is intelligent, and his off voice narration completes the binding of every loose comedy episode. The killer literally writes the story, this is always a reliable device.

An important note is how the filmmakers invest the film with a sense of placement. Porto, Portugal, working as Rio’s historical center in the XIXth century. There are overall clever locations, and one in particular; the bookshop, it’s a great space. It is a real bookshop, located in the center of Porto. It has a great serpent stair, which could actually have been better used, but the space is invested with a romantic eclectic feel. It has a mystery appeal to it. Actually it might have been used as a model for some Harry Potter’s sets (Rawling lived in Porto). I appreciated the choices.

My opinion: 4/5 watch this.

This comment on IMDb


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