Basil follows a life of controlled chaos. We can see that from his house; he has science experiments everywhere. He looks like a mad man shooting a gun at pillows inside his house. However, he does have a plan. He wants to compare the bullets, which unfortunately don’t match.
When he is detecting, he works through what clues he finds. He does not automatically have the answer to what is going on. He may find a lot of clues, but he considers them one at a time and connects appropriately.
When Basil and Dawson (Val Bettin) go to the bar, it is a scary environment. However, Basil has control over what is going on. He immediately knows “the drinks have been drugged”. Because Dawson drank the spiked drink, he has to worry about him while trying to find and follow Fidget.
Ratigan, on the other hand, is a control freak. He wants to kidnap the queen and put a toy mouse in her place to declare Ratigan “Supreme Ruler of all Mousedome”. However, when Flaversham refuses to complete the toy, Ratigan threatens to bring Olivia (Susanne Pollatschek) to the hideout and potentially kill her. He has no problem being “nasty” to get what he wants. And after a few minutes, we know this threat is not empty. We see him feed one of his henchmen to his cat, Felicia, for calling him a “rat”.
Even when planning to capture and kill Basil, he wants so much control over the situation that he times it down to the minute. He tells Basil, “You are 15 minutes late.” Everything must be done on his time.
To kill Basil, he chooses to use every means he can think of: a mouse trap, a gun, an arrow, an ax, and an anvil. He cannot depend on one way for killing his enemy. He has to use five different weapons to get the job done. However, Basil is too smart to not escape this crazy end.
With these two characters’ final battler, we really see how control surrounds them. Ratigan actually loses control and looks like a rat because he wants to kill Basil so badly. Basil actually shows his ability to maintain control in the most extreme chaos we see in this film.
These characters show us that managing chaos is better than wanting complete control.
If you are a big fan of Sherlock Holmes and this movie, check out this site. There are multiple essays with interesting ideas about this film and its lore.
Here is a cool article about Ratigan and how good of a bad guy he is. Have a look!
Thanks for reading!