Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Sherlock Holmes

Year: 2009
Director: Guy Ritchie
Writers: Michael Robert Johnson, Anthony Peckham, Simon Kinberg

ROBERT DOWNEY JR., Jude Law, Rachel McAdams, Mark Strong, Eddie Marsan, Geraldine James, Robert Maillet, William Houston, James Fox, Clive Russell

Forget everything you know about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s impeccable detective, this re-imagining of the famous sleuth bares little resemblance. Sacrilege you cry!

Indeed, but if you can go into this film pretending that this Holmes is no relation, then you may enjoy the action, and strange storyline, that this film has to offer.

Robert Downey Jr. is up-front with his portrayal and British accent, with a glaring spaced-out look of a detective beguiled by his own genius. Alongside Holmes, Jude Law as the stalwart Dr. Watson is an odd choice. But it’s a role that seems to suit him fine, as he spouts idioms galore; ‘Old cock’ seems to come to mind.

This less than discreet pair searches for clues and killers, unravelling strange truths in a sticky, dirty, and wet London circa 1890. Up against a ruthless ‘occult magician’ named Lord Blackwood, an impeccable performance by Mark Strong.

There’s a lot of violence and dark moments in this Sherlock Holmes tale, occasionally interspersed with some comedy, falling almost flat, if it weren’t for the great acting talent on show. The story is missing a splash of glitz or magic, and there’s very little sex-appeal, which is a shame.

Director Guy Ritchie manages to throw in enough action at the right moments, and short-sharp cuts, giving you no time to realise that what you have just seen makes no sense whatsoever. The silly exposition in the third act just leaves a sour taste.

In the hands of another, this movie could have been a real disaster. But looking at it from a different angle, it could have been a whole lot better too. Let’s see what the next instalment has to offer.

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