Thursday, January 14, 2010

"Sherlock Holmes" (2009) - Movie Review

Only Guy Ritchie would have Sherlock Holmes plan and lay out his method of eliminating the problem of not the puzzle but an enemy to attack him. In a method to his madness, Guy Ritchie takes the detective from the fictional past of the England to the screens and he does so entertainingly. With his previous film “RocknRolla” putting back to where he invested and grew on the film making, Ritchie takes a safe bet with “Sherlock Holmes” And with Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law, even when things go twisted, tangled and far fetched beyond the capability of one man for a machination like this, the movie moves on at its steady motion.

Holmes and his compadre Dr. Watson (Jude Law) arrests the black magic criminal Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong) when the film begins. With smooth but deadly punches and moving through the bodies of his opponent, Holmes disrupts the human sacrifice Blackwood was undergoing which already took the lives of five innocent women. Now on the death row and to be hanged, Holmes has nothing else to do than to indulge in odd experiments one including using Watson’s harmless dog. With his best friend on the verge of getting engaged to one Mary Morstan (Kelly Reilly) and Blackwood being hanged and buried, Holmes hopes for some changes. It happens when the grave of Blackwood is wide open and a witness mentioning the man being resurrected and walking healthily for further calamity to the people.

There is an unnoticeable restraint from the director in keeping the film fairly well under R-rated. Despite the destitute and darkened streets of London, Holmes and Watson are very close in yelling the f-words at each other which I would not have mind. But curse words are not needed for the chemistry between Downey Jr. and Law. Downey Jr. is an obvious casting amidst his aging face but not the physique. He is witty and self admiringly sarcastic and condescending. We love that and Dr. Watson is not a big fan but there is this curiosity tying them up for solving the riddle in front of them.

In this mix is Sherlock’s love interest Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams) been manipulated by a mystery face. The sword fight of lines between Holmes and Watson is more intriguing than when they discuss the smallest possible evidence to conclude on a person’s personality, history and demeanour. One such gets a glassful of wine on Holmes’ face. It comes from Mary, Watson’s girl friend seeming to more suspicious but thankfully not in the end.

Ritchie is clear on his work. He is cautious and knows that he is trials have quenched only his own thirst. For many, that would become their greatness and in Ritchie’s case it did not. Or rather he had a thorough sense of taking his own way even if it required complete neglect of his audience. “Revolver” almost ended him and he now identifies his strong suits which are his creative visuals. He loves the details in a fast moving scenes and brings to a stop and pause to create a vibrance in his viewers. “Sherlock Holmes” has many when it begins but soon understands its importance of story telling.

There of course is the revealing and explanation of the acts happened across through these events. It all is poured down in the climax and as much as the curiosity to know the solutions, it becomes a ritual. A not so interesting but still making sense ritual for the detective genre films. It does not undermines its audience’s intelligence but simply wants to be there for the custom of it.

This is a fresh look on a character well beloved and appreciated. It does not corrupts the fiction but rather applies a painting and perspective of its own. It maintains the core concept of Holmes and Watson but modernizes them to the eyes of the new generation. It is not an overwhelming film but a moderately entertaining one for the performance of Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law along with the visual thrill of Ritchie.

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