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Inseparable - Review * 22 November 2011


In the first of an occasional series, we're reviewing older films and television featuring the Sherlock cast before they appeared in the series. Here, it's a short film named Inseparable, featuring Benedict Cumberbatch. It has recently been released on iTunes for download.

Currently  the makers of this film, Area17, are developing a feature length version of Inseparable and need your support in order to get in made. Details on how you can help them, can be found at the bottom of our review.

- Team Sherlockology

UPDATE 14 October 2016

Inseparable is now available to buy on We Are Colony, the new online digital home of the special edition film  release.  


An ethereal, moving short film, Inseparable is a simple piece with a twist in the tale. It's about losing everything and gaining a second chance, with a slightly darker undercurrent running beneath the surface.

Made in 2007, it stars Benedict Cumberbatch in dual roles - twin brothers, one an affluent husband and father (Joe), the other a destitute gambler and drunkard (Charlie). When one is diagnosed with a terminal illness, it is a chance for reconciliation for them both, and a new start.


As is often the case with short films, this has an excellent central conceit that cannot be deeply explored in the runtime. Instead, we have a tremendous mood piece, almost wordless, that rests fully on the shoulders of Cumberbatch. For the opening three minutes, there is almost no dialogue, just the quiet horror of the doctor's office giving way to the overspilling emotion of the results. Rather than an 'acting' piece, it is performance that rules the day here, little gestures - a tremble of the hand when removing a pair of glasses - made large and magnified thanks to the simple realistic horror of the situation.  To then cut away from this broken yet dignified man to his twin, shows the range Cumberbatch possesses. The polar opposite in manner, he slurs his speech, shifts his body weight and is effectively someone else entirely. The two characters have two different stories, motivations and directions. Equally poignant, equally moving, and yet Cumberbatch's dialogue must consist of under two-dozen words throughout. Also excellent in her small screen time is Natalie Press - her reaction in the final scene of the film is incredibly emotional, yet tinged with realistic dawning horror, as befits the situation.


Technically, the film is beautiful. Shot through with light and soft background focus, the camerawork lends to the evocative mood. Reinforced by the light yet driving instrumental soundtrack and sparse sound design, the effect is like being trapped in a vacuum, heightening the images onscreen and making everything appear so much more immediate. The only fault that could be found in this production is the sense of immense waste in telling it under ten minutes. The material alone could make for a feature length film or two or three part television series. However what Cumberbatch manages in this time is more than many actors could hope to in ten times the screen time.


Inseparable is available on iTunes US priced $1.99 or iTunes UK priced £1.49 and in our opinion, well worth the money!



Area17 are developing a full length feature version of their short film, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Natalie Press, and need your support to get it made. Please let them know if you would like to see this film made by "liking" theirFaceBook page here and leaving a comment!