Running Time: 128 minutes
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, Rachel McAdams. Mark Strong
Directed By: Guy Ritchie
Rating: 7 out of 10
Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson work together to solve a case of dark magic and resurrections.
Cinematic history has many great examples of great on screen pairings. This includes Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid to Captain Kirk and Spock. It also includes the Lone Ranger and Tonto to Anakin Skywalker and Padme (cough). Now we get to watch another famous duo in detective Sherlock Holmes and his trusty sidekick Doctor Watson work their magic in solving a mystery. The story involves the legendary pair investigating a case that involves black magic, murder, and a multitude of other crimes that may rattle the British Empire to its very core.
This film is an entertaining and jocular take on writer Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes novels. It starts off quickly and never lets up. You are introduced to Holmes and Watson and instantly like their easy banter and their rhythmic give and take dialogue. This film probably won’t sit well with traditionalist Sherlock Holmes fans as it never takes itself too seriously but I surely enjoyed it. This film has a great blend of action and comedy allowing you to get into the darker storyline. The camera work is superb and the dark back drop of London suits the story perfectly. I liked how Watson although clearly the supporting role still was very front in centre in most of the big scenes so he was utilized to his full potential. The action sequences are also brilliant with decent editing allowing you to appreciate the little nuances. Having Holmes narrate what he is going to do in a fight in slow motion and then getting to see it in real time was a great touch. If anything Director Guy Ritchie could have added more scenes shot in this style as it was a highlight of the film for me. You will also be impressed by Holmes's Magyver like skills in fashioning weapons out of odd household items. Watching Holmes battle gigantic evil henchmen seems more realistic when he creates weapons from nothing.
I had misgivings about Robert Downey Jr. playing Sherlock Holmes but they were quickly laid to rest in this film and I am sorry I ever doubted him. He is funny and charming when he needs to be and holds his own in the action sequences. Having him testing out his theories with drugs and strange equipment is just and entertaining watch. Watching him drink and bare fist box is even a better watch. His partner Doctor Watson played by Jude Law is the perfect complement to the craziness of Holmes’s character. He is more of the straight man and goes along with Holmes’s shenanigans for the intrigue. The two of them on screen have more chemistry together than I have seen in a movie for a really long time. They fight, and they bicker, they tease, and they joke, but at the end of all of it they make this movie so enjoyable. They have a strong supporting cast with Rachel McAdams playing the shady and slippery love interest Irene Adams and Mark Strong playing the evil Lord Blackwood. They carve their own solid supporting roles and add depth to the story in a film dominated by Downey and Law.
The film at times goes over the top with the comedy though. Holmes always seems to be cracking jokes when their lives are on the line. It comes off as very cheesy at times and reminds me of old school James Bond dialogue. They could have toned it down a little. I also felt the ending was rather anticlimactic after such a long investigation by Holmes and Watson. Never the less with more than one storyline going on and the decidedly darker content this film will appeal to everyone looking for a little of every genre.
What director do you turn to when you need an entertaining British flick? You go to none other than Guy Ritchie. He knows his audience and he knows how to blend cheeky banter with twisting stories and solid action sequences. He does a great job with this film and bringing Downey and Law together was a stroke of genius. The script isn’t amazing and certainly some of the dialogue could have been toned down but overall another great job from Madonna’s ex.
I give this movie my recommendation as Holmes might think its elementary I thought it was exemplary.
T Factor + If you like your films to have a more serious tone this could score lower on the rating scale.
T Factor – If you do not like Robert Downey Jr. this could score lower on the rating scale.
If you liked this film reel recommendations: RocknRolla, Snatch.