Saturday, April 10, 2010
Movie of the Week
SHERLOCK HOLMES (2009)
Starring- Robert Downey, Jr., Jude Law, Rachel McAdams, Mark Strong
Guy Ritchie's new version of Sherlock Holmes is fun, interesting and entertaining, but it is far from perfect. I liked this film enough to buy it, but with that said, there are some flaws. Overall, I like the choices that Ritchie and his actors made with how to depict Holmes and Watson for a modern audience. I like the fact that Holmes' more eccentric behavior is played up by Downey, I like the fact that Watson is a much more active character, and I like the gritty realism that Ritchie shows in this version of London.
These likes outweigh the dislikes, for me, so I will spend some time discussing them. Robert Downey Jr. is a very likable, watchable performer who brings charm and wit to any role he plays. I think that for a more disheveled, vagabond Holmes, he is the perfect man for the job. Some have decried this depiction of the master detective, but upon re-reading some of the original stories by Conan Doyle, I have discovered that there are many elements in Downey's portrayal that stay very true to Sir Arthur's creation. Jude Law is also very good as Dr. Watson. I always hated the versions of Holmes that had bumbling, inactive Watsons because that is in no way how I pictured him based on the books. Watson is a doctor, and therefore not a moron, as well as a decorated war veteran, so he is not a coward. Law plays up Watson's smarts and fighting ability, and it makes him such a much more interesting character. I also love the chemistry between Law and Downey because they really seem to have the rapport necessary to play the two friends.
As for Guy Ritchie's direction, I like much of it. His films have a great palpable atmosphere, and Sherlock Holmes is no exception. London is almost another character in the film, and rightfully so. I also like his choice of pace in the movie, intercutting action scenes with slower dialogue driven moments. I do not, however, like everything. Sherlock Holmes' shortcomings are not many, but they do exist. Rachel McAdams is a fine actress, but totally miscast as Irene Adler. I also have trouble with some of the villain's plot, as well as the Da Vinci Code-esque secret society mumbo jumbo that feels tacked on and overdone. Finally, this film does give way to some silly moments that cheapen it and make it feel like other reboots akin to Will Smith's Wild Wild West.
If you are a Holmes lover, this film has much of what has made him a viable character for over 100 years, so try to get past the few problems and enjoy this very interesting movie.
Things to Watch For-
Hans Zimmer's inventive musical score
Guy Ritchie's signature- bare knuckle boxing
Lines taken directly from the original Conan Doyle stories
"You have the grand gift of silence, Watson. It makes you quite invaluable as a companion."