Saturday, January 09, 2010

Sherlock Holmes

I actually saw this one over Christmas break but I just haven't had time to post it. I ended up seeing this one twice and I enjoyed it both times. It really is a perfect film for the winter season. Something about the Victorian era, carriages on cobblestones, the eerie dark corners of White Chapel and the seedy underbelly of downtown London. I'm always a sucker for that kind of imagery and this film did not disappoint. Watching Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law together as Holmes and Watson was the biggest treat of all. Both of these guys seemed to be very at home in their roles and their chemistry was comparable to that of Newman and Redford. God's honest truth, I'm a sucker for a great buddy action flick too.This is not an origin story, thankfully. Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) and Dr. John Watson (Jude Law) appear to have been partners for quite a while. In fact they are nearing the climax of a case as the film opens. They put an end to a murder spree by a creepy nobleman, Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong), who has killed 5 virgins and was attempting to kill a 6 before Holmes foils his attempt. The story takes a sinister and magical turn as Lord Blackwood seemingly hanged for his crimes is discovered walking around and plotting to take back the colonies for his own nefarious purposes.To be honest the plot was nothing new, it seemed to fall under the typical for a Sherlock Holmes story, not revolutionary and not original by any stretch of the imagination. In fact many of the plot points reminded me of another fun Sherlock Holmes tale from the 80's called Young Sherlock Holmes. This film also dealt with secret orders and dark and ancient mystical forces. What made this film interesting and fun was Holmes and Watson and their strange partnership. Holmes is insanely brilliant but lacks social graces and possibly suffers from bad hygiene. While Watson is strong willed, responsible, organized and damn he can kick your ass. In this film, actually, Holmes can too. He most certainly has the personality of the Holmes in the books and any previous film but the difference, in this movie, he is a detective and he can put someone in the hurt locker. I really loved his voice-over explaining his chess-like attacks on his opponents. It's genius and completely within reason for an intellect like Sherlock Holmes. It also thankfully provides some humor for us. Watson also is a source for humor as the two of them verbally spar back and forth throughout the film. Watson is truly a partner and almost an equal to Holmes which I found to be an improvement from earlier works. Actually the weak link in this cast and script was unfortunately Rachel McAdams', femme fatalle, Irene Adler. I like McAdams, she's a wonderful actress and she's gorgeous to boot but she was a little miscast here. She just didn't fit well into the dynamic.I truly enjoyed this interpretation of the Sherlock Holmes series and I hope to see more in the future. My hat goes off to director Guy Ritchie this is probably my favorite thing of his since whenever. He really hit a low with that bad Madonna flick Swept Away. Thankfully he was able to prove what a great director he can be. So if you haven't seen this one get out there now, it's a fun script with great chemistry between Downey and Law and there is plenty of action and suspense for all. The game is afoot.

Grade: 4 Buckets

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