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Sherlock Holmes

March 23, 2010

Sherlock Holmes
Sherlock Holmes

This new telling of the classic Sir Arthur Conan Doyle takes an extravagant romp through the world of Sherlock Holmes and while it delves into the elementary  side of the investigation, it also shows off Holmes need for thrill seeking and adventure that are hinted at, at times in the books.  Guy Ritchie brings Holmes to life like never before and creates a fast paced entertaining story around him.

The first thing that helps this film along its way is the acting.  Robert Downey Jr. steps in admirably as the iconic character of Holmes.  He has enough charisma in his acting to play that messed up character that Holmes is.  And he fills up the role.  The show stealer, though is Jude Law.  Law takes on the role of Watson, Holmes’ sidekick, and does so wonderfully.  He is always at the edge of being fascinated by the madness that follows Holmes around and he tries to stay out of the biggest messes as he is engaged.  He knows the trouble he could get into and he still follows Holmes around, and Law does a good job of balancing this conflict in his acting.  Rachel McAdams comes in as an American crook who Holmes has tangled with before.  She carries herself on the screen with a similar swagger to that of Holmes and McAdams plays off of Downey Jr. wonderfully.  The villain is played convincingly by Mark Strong.  Strong doesn’t overact his role as the villain but instead plays Lord Blackwood in a more brooding manner, which is impressive with the feats that Blackwood pulls of in the film.

The plot is pretty simple.  Holmes catches Lord Blackwood who has been murdering young girls across London in a ritualistic manner.  Lord Blackwood hangs.  Lord Blackwood comes back to life and all of a sudden, Holmes has to catch him all over again.  And Watson gets dragged back into the mess as Holmes and he have to clear their name and show off how Blackwood did it, besides magic as Blackwood would like everyone to believe.  McAdams’ character comes in as someone who tries to “help” Holmes throughout the film.  She has her own agenda and when it works to her advantage she helps Holmes, and when it does, he gets handcuffed to her hotel room bed, naked.

One thing of note in this film is the music.  It was nominated for the Academy Awards for a reason.  Hans Zimmer has worked on many big films before and has won an Academy Award for best score before.  The music is all classical, but always very upbeat and hi-tempo, which it needs to be for a film like this one.  It compliments the story wonderfully.

Sherlock Holmes was also nominated for an Academy Award for Art Direction.  This again is very much deserved as it takes London as it would have been years ago when Sherlock Holmes was written.  It creates a massive world for them to work with, and it is beautifully shown.  If you note the picture that I posted, that is what the film is like.  It often delves into the slightly more blue to blueish gray side of things, and it works wonderfully giving this film that older feel that it is looking for.

Some people might not appreciate this film as much because in their mind Sherlock Holmes is more of a sedated thinking man who solves crimes.  Guy Ritchie allows him to think, but there is no time to ponder anything as it is all a very fast action filled film, in the line of the rest of Guy Ritchie’s films.  It works out nicely, though, as I don’t think Robert Downey Jr. would have been able to play a more sedate Sherlock Holmes.

Entertainment Grade: B+

Critical Grade: B+

Overall Grade: B+

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