Monday, January 18, 2010
Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes is a fast-paced, edgy adaptation (to put it mildly) of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's late 19th century creation. I have learned that Detective Holmes was apparently not too dissimilar to the way he is portrayed here and that previous films actually passed over this side of him.
Sherlock was in fact an avid boxer and a martial artist, had little personal hygiene, did sleep on the floor, drugged himself and his dog constantly, insulted Watson, played practical jokes on his housekeeper, and was generally quite an offensive character. He was also however a master of disguise; a genius of logic and deduction with an incredible memory and case solving ability. It is during his relationship and close friendship with Dr. Watson that he became a more "respectable" member of society.
Jude Law plays Dr. Watson wonderfully, with understated charm and ease, and most importantly lets the light shine on Robert Downey Jr.'s Sherlock, giving him the true spotlight. Every pore of Downey's permeates this role and it's obvious he's loving every second of it. His brooding, tough, superior, energetic and cunning Sherlock is what makes the movie entertaining in my opinion. He is one of few actors who has gotten better looking with time and age and in many scenes is reminiscent of a younger Al Pacino in Scarface. The Golden Globe that was just awarded to him is richly deserved. On the other hand, Rachel McAdams was a bit disappointing and doesn't add much to the film.
I liked the well written interplay and complicity between Sherlock and Watson. However, the plot of trying to find Lord Blackwood who has risen from the dead and operates a secret society was way too far fetched for my taste. I thought the action scenes were too long and although I liked the dark, moody, filthy London that was conveyed, the special effects looked fake. I felt like I was watching an awful Dan Brown movie at times with all the symbols, secret rituals and black magic of the sect.
Guy Ritchie has delivered a unique movie by sticking to his genre of a testosterone driven, male charged environment where one wouldn't necessarily expect it and for that he should be applauded. There is a great fight scene in which Sherlock envisions and dissects the violent play by play of what will happen to his unsuspecting opponent in slow motion in his head, then Ritchie shows it to us unfolding in real speed. The movie is unconventional but I felt that a lot of the scenes dragged on, especially towards the end. RDJ's performance was enthralling but I strongly preferred the fast repartees to the fast chases.
My rating: 4
Total score: 8