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Friday, February 14, 2014

Sherlock Holmes Movie Review

Sherlock Holmes Movie Review

As Roger Ebert once observed, theres no better way to pique our interest than showing a smart character being smart and they dont get much smarter than Sherlock Holmes. Portraying his brilliance depends upon a proper sense of logic and a way of illustrating his observational skills in an accessible manner. Director Guy Ritchie achieves that in the first five minutes of his excellent new film. Holmes Robert Downey, Jr. needs to dispatch a thug standing between him and a damsel in distress. In an instant, he notes the mans physical vulnerabilities, devises a means of exploiting them, and launches a devastating series of blows that drop him like a load of bricks.

Some may accuse the sequence of being unduly action oriented, and indeed it shows the telltale signs of Ritchies previous gangsterbased oeuvre. But it remains solidly connected to Arthur Conan Doyles original work, both in terms of Holmess intellect and in the way he applies it.

Doyle described Holmes as an expert boxer, a trait rarely seen in the movies but which Ritchie uses to place his own unique stamp on the character. Indeed, while Sherlock Holmes constitutes an entirely original adventure, it is so deeply steeped in the source material that it might have been penned by Doyle himself. That Ritchie blends it so well with his personal filmmaking sensibilities speaks volumes about the care and attention paid to the project.

Downey, too, brings a sense of the personal to Sherlock Holmes. The detectives intelligence goes hand in hand with his selfdestructive qualitiesthe ego, the drug addiction, the cheerful disdain for societal prioritieswhich Downey understands far better than most. His Holmes lacks the clich trappings of the character theres no deerstalker cap or Meerschaum pipe here, but in many ways constitutes the most faithful version since Jeremy Bretts performances in the 1980s.

Jude Laws Dr. Watson is somewhat more dynamic, with a renewed emphasis on his military background and a relationship with Holmes akin to a partnership rather than the herosidekick arrangement which most interpretations provide. He and Downey maintain the chemistry of two men who have shared so many experiences that they practically move as one. Watsons impending marriage threatens to end their collaboration, creating nascent feelings of jealousy in Holmes and lending their easy grace the right amount of tension to keep things popping.

Watson also provides an excellent bridge between the source material and the roughandtumble action plot into which Ritchie casts us. Our Heroes find themselves arrayed against the maniacal Lord Blackwood Mark Strong, a thinlyveiled Freemason who has embraced black magic and intends to use it to seize control of the Empire. After seemingly rising from the dead, he sends London in a frenzy of superstitious panic, while daring Holmes clockwork rationality to stem the rising tide.

Ritchie peppers the proceedings with plenty of fights, chases and derringdo, rendered in a fiercely kinetic style that fully embraces 21st century sensibilities. Yet he does so with a remarkable amount of intelligence as well. Theres a mystery afoota bit pulpier than Doyle perhaps, but definitely in keeping with his spiritand Ritchie doesnt skimp on the tiny incidental details which Holmes ferrets out en route to his quarry. Sherlock Holmes also plays up the conflict between science and superstition quite well, evoking classic stories like The Hound of the Baskervilles without attempting to eclipse or infringe upon them.

The only shortcoming in the proceedings is Rachel McAdams Irene Adler aka The Woman for those familiar with Doyle, a thief and adventuress with nebulous connections to one of the series other key figures. The actress seems game, but Ritchie doesnt quite know what to do with her, and her scenes constitute a palpable drag on the proceedings. Watsons fianc Mary Kelly Reilly does better, though shes still just sideline material. Sherlock Holmes retains a Boys Own quality to it, but while the female figures dont quite fit, they could have easily joined in the fun more readily had the script approached them with care.

As it stands, however, that remains an incidental issue at worst. The remainder of the film is a palpable joy: exciting, flashy, and bubbling with fun at a time of year when stodgy Oscar bait is the order of the day. Ritchies cockney look at Londons underworld finds a intriguing new permutation hererespectful of its source without feeling bound to it, and helping Downey continue the momentum built up by Iron Man. Sherlock Holmes demonstrates how its titular figure has endured for so long, and serves notice that Baker Streets most famous inhabitant will be with us well into the new millennium.

Also Read 10 Movie Sleuths That Need a Sherlock Holmes Reboot

Ok NotAFan, Firstly, if you havent read many of the books, then how do you know hes a stuffed shirt and that his personality is different from the books to begin with?

Secondly, the whole point of this version is to show it from a different take, however from someone who has read a majority of the books, this version is pretty close. Hes a pugilist through and through, and has considerable fighting skills. Guy Ritchie and RDJ have taken this character and made him relevant to the masses of this age. This movie will draw a sequel for sure, as it rightfully should.

I will agree that had RDJ not done Iron Man, this movie may not have been made like this, but he doesnt do both characters the same at all.

Enjoy this movie. Its exactly what movie making and movie watching should be about. He was often the showman and revelled in putting it too Scotland Yard. He was rough around the edges and not wellkept either. He was also depicted as a drug user throughout the novels, in fact, Watson who is the primary narrator for the books and stories, remarks on his disdain for Holmes drug use. It would also appear that Watson is presented well. While Watson is often seen as the ladies man, the books portrayed him as very loyal to his wife and VERY loyal to Holmes and willing to deal with his eccentricities.

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