Re:View – Sherlock Holmes

The Arts

Holmes the dapper sleuth


Holmes the bare-knuckle fighter

I’d been putting off seeing this because, as the author of a few Sherlock stories in my time, I wasn’t sure I was ready for the Guy Ritchie super-testosterone version, but I was wrong – it’s light, sharp and pleasurable. Holmes at feature length is tricky because while the short stories were wonderful, the novels – with the exception of the hell-hound – are less so, and Holmes’s relatively simple cases seem suited to brevity. Ritchie provides a safe pair of hands for what turns out to be a rather witty spin around the usual Holmes tropes. Perhaps coping with so much CGI and the restart of a franchise has curtailed his more annoying habits. Mercifully, he gets the one signature scene, a pointless bare knuckle fight, out of the way early on in the proceedings, leaving time free for silly disguises (false nose and eyepatch), scraping the fiddle, the chemical experiments, Mrs Hudson (no longer Scottish), Lestrade (Eddie Marsan, superb), Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams, ‘feisty’) and the game being afoot all over London’s satisfyingly muddy streets.

There’s mention of Moriarty and Mycroft, no seven percent solution (probably to do with the rating) and a rattling good villain in sinister Mark Strong, he of beetling eyebrow and gleaming eye. The CG longshots are excellent, the half-built Tower Bridge nicely rendered, and the plot is some old bobbins about satanism and freemasonry, but what makes it zing is the chemistry between Jude Law and Robert Downey Jr, even though the latter hides an accent as bad as Dick Van Dyke’s in Mary Poppins by whispering a lot. For a director who has in the past been deemed allegedly homophobic, Ritchie lets Watson and Holmes bicker and snap about borrowed clothes and missed meals like a pair of ageing bachelors who’ve spent too much time in each other’s company. Holmes is also highly possessive of Watson, and his attempts to sabotage his sidekick’s forthcoming nuptials are a nice touch.

And there’s real energy in the set-pieces that go out of their way to explain Holmes’s observation methods. The fights and chases (in a boat-yard and on the bridge) have a weight and clarity that’s too often missing in CG-heavy blockbusters. By the end, at least one sequel has been set up. Bring ’em on.

13 comments on “Re:View – Sherlock Holmes”

  1. martin says:

    I’m still not sure about seeing the film. I enjoy a well written (non Conan Doyle) Holmes story. And I don’t mind when they cross genres. For instance A study in emerald by Gaiman. I am, however, hopelessly conservative when it comes to Holmes on film. For me it begins and ends with the Jeremy Brett adaptations.

  2. Maura McHugh says:

    I enjoyed this film a great deal, although I was amused at how late the plot turned up (a good 20 mins into the film I reckon), but it’s not a problem since the characters are good fun and have great chemistry. I also thought the music and production design were excellent – but most Brit films get the the costume part right at least.

  3. stonemuse says:

    Yes, I enjoyed the film as well although had not been sure that I would. Definitely looking forward to the sequel(s). Ritchie has been quite successful in re-creating an evocative old London.

  4. Steve says:

    No, no, no. The two worst British accents in cinematic history – Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins and – almost worse, believe it or not – Keanu Reeves in “Bram Stoker’s Dracula”. Robert Downey’s doesn’t come close to being as bad as either of them. Yes yes, I’m an American, so how would I know? I just do, that’s all.
    I have a friend who’s threatened to introduce me to Francis Ford Coppola – and I fully intend to ask him “Keanu Reeves?? Really?? What were you thinking???
    Still makes me shudder.
    Van Dyke just makes me laugh.

  5. Steve says:

    Oh yes. I enjoyed the movie. The Holmes/Watson relationship seemed to me to be an intentional take-off of the relationship between Gregory House (Hugh Laurie) and his best friend Wilson on the TV program “House”. Now there’s a British man who does a convincing American accent!

  6. Andrew Roberts says:

    “For a director who has in the past been deemed allegedly homophobic, Ritchie lets Watson and Holmes bicker and snap about borrowed clothes and missed meals like a pair of ageing bachelors who’ve spent too much time in each other’s company.”

    Does that strike anyone else as an odd comment?

  7. admin says:

    No. Ed. (You can be over-sensitive, you know!)

  8. Manisha says:

    The tone of Robin hood was Somber & Stylized…had a great time watching it..http://tinyurl.com/RobinHoodFB

  9. Kyle Griffin says:

    don’t you just love the eyes of Rachel McAdams? she has some pretty eyes.””*

  10. Jude Law could win the oscar award for best actor.;””

  11. jude law is really a macho, hunk actor. my brother idolizes him”..

  12. I love the eyes of Rachel McAdams, it seems to be always smiling*~.

  13. PH Test : says:

    Jude Law would be more suitable in roles where he is a woman seducer”:,

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