Cert: 12A Runtime: 128 mins Director: Guy Ritchie Cast: Robert Downey Jr,Jude Law, Rachel McAdams and Mark Strong
Never theorize before you have data. Invariably, you end up twisting facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts
He really was the come back kid by the time Sherlock Holmes came to town. With the arrest of Lord Blackwood (Mark strong), Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) and Dr. John Watson (Jude Law) believe they have stopped one of London’s most dangerous killers, responsible for four deaths and about to commit a fifth when he is apprehended. Several months later he is hanged for his crimes but rumours begin to circulate that he is in fact still alive, having used managed and the black arts to escape society’s judgement When they disinter his remains, they find the body of another man in the coffin. Soon, all of London is atwitter with the news that Blackwood has risen from the dead and for some, he is the devil incarnate. With the assistance of the very capable Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams), Holmes and Watson must stop Blackwood before he can initiate his master plan: the takeover of the British government and eventually, world domination.Robert Downey Jr. is right at home in the role of the infamous detective. Swapping out futuristic armour for a pipe and fiddle, he plays another character with the wit and confidence of his Tony Stark persona in ‘Iron Man.’ This makes sense because, to some degree, what is ‘Sherlock Holmes’ if not merely the Tony Stark character set back about a hundred years? Regardless, Downey Jr. is excellent, providing an effervescent wit and supreme charm to his latest role. Jude Law plays his right hand man, Dr. John Watson, in a role much smarter than past incarnations of the Watson character. The two are more equals than hero and sidekick, and their chemistry is indelible. Even when the narrative becomes a bit erratic, the pleasure of seeing the two stars’ continuous verbal quarrels is worth the price of admission alone.
Together they inspire numerous laughs and clever rebuttals to an unrelenting degree, allowing many of the jokes to pass unrealized, saved for the treat of a second viewing.’Sherlock Holmes’ has a method completely reminiscent of Director Guy Ritchie’s earlier films. In the style of show first-explain later, Ritchie has effectively applied his trademark fast cuts to the mind of his lead protagonist. Much as Watson is often catching up to Holmes’ various schemes, so must the audience sit in question for a large portion of the film, waiting for Holmes to reveal his motivations. Particularly similar to his work on last year’s entertaining ‘RocknRolla,’ along with many of his other films, Ritchie takes the first hour of his endeavours laying out the dots to be connected in his lengthy but fast-paced crescendo throughout the second half of the film. With ‘Holmes,’ he has compromised nothing, rather managed to find a better balance between build up and climax. With various fistfight intervals dissecting the chaotic mystery, Ritchie keeps the audience entertained even when they’re unsure about the direction of the plot. That being said, many viewers will begin to question their purchase throughout the films first half hour, as the story puzzles more than entertains. But rest assured, a satisfying finale follows, with so many pieces coming together that a second viewing is a necessity to begin dissecting the intricacies of the case being solved, if that only means better understanding Holmes’ course of action.Visually Ritchie has constructed a film in the shadows, only occasionally getting out into spanning shots of daylight England. This, like the rest of the film, settles into place as the film develops. His infamous lightning cuts allow no slow moments, even when the pace would typically meander in the hands of a lesser Director.
Holmes also riddles off explanations so rapidly that audiences can hardly pick up on all of what he is saying, or all of the nuanced humour during the interplay between Watson and him. Unfortunately much of the laugh-out-loud humour as been divulged in the trailer, but a film should not be penalized for the faults of its advertising campaign. The musical score is supplemental to the frantic convolutions of the film’s earlier scenes, providing a spirited tune that rides the energy of fiddling and poses as anything but generic. The locations are likewise smart, the costumes are admirable, and the effects are gritty, proving to be another benefit of having an indie Director helm an event film. Ultimately there are no blatant short cuts in the way of computer generation, only clever sets and a brilliant Art Direction.’Sherlock Holmes’ is refreshingly less conventional than one might guess, even if some viewers may find themselves a bit lost by Ritchie’s unforgiving cuts and unrelenting energy. It jumps right into the tale, no origins told and no flashbacks necessary, relying on Holmes renowned history. Furthermore, many subtle elements of the various characters’ past interactions are left for the audience to deduce in the fashion of Sherlock Holmes himself. And while the film may not be the grand epic some may have hoped for, its sheer entertainment value is undeniable. From the moment the credits roll it’s apparent that ‘Sherlock Holmes’ cannot be full appreciated in one screening, and will likely grow in favor upon further viewings. It further presents itself as a gem of home entertainment in the long run, as a film that can be enjoyed on any occasion in any company, even with its hefty two-hour-plus runtime. This is a by-product of the wonderfully gritty action Ritchie brings to the tale, and the uncompromising portrayal of the classic characters by the films superb leads. ‘Sherlock Holmes’ won’t be quite what you expect, and you may even be dismayed by the films feisty narrative style, but more often than not you’ll be completely entertained by the characters on screen.