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>> Friday, January 22, 2010

What up, Holmes? (you knew that was coming...)
Robert Downey Jr. continues his "how could anyone else have ever played this part?" movie streak with the very entertaining Sherlock Holmes. Traditionally Holmes would be played in a drier, prudelier way. I would have imagined it to be more an extension of Pride and Prejudice meets Nancy Drew kiddie movie than an adult action flick with Matrix-style slow mo effects (that are actually there for more than just aesthetic purposes).

Jude Law plays the reluctant Dr. Watson and plays extremely well off of Downey despite both men are used to playing leading roles. Downey in particular does well with his role do to his charming and quick-witted ways. There was nothing that got me giddier than seeing him explain the entire plot’s secrets towards the end of the film in a calm and cocky manner. That technique in movie, however, is sometimes a double-edged sword.

The reason for my saying this is because there was a lot we didn’t know about the bad-guy characters until the very end. It reminded me a lot of movies like the Ocean’s 11 series. Towards the third one it was nice seeing how tricky the hero characters were and how everything came together, but at the same time it can get cumbersome not knowing anything until the very end. It’s nice to be in on some of the secrets sometimes – not everything (that would have made Sixth Sense really suck) but some things. In Holmes we didn’t get a whole lot, but Downey’s whit was enough to distract us.

The definite plus here is the studio and writers were definitely in it for a sequel or two by setting up upcoming villains like Professor Moriarty, and keeping the quality of the film at a decently high level. They avoided the cheesy clich├ęs by not making Downey where the famous Holmes’ hat (there was a pipe though), and not one did he utter the words “elementary, my dear Watson”. Thank… God… But as aforementioned, this is not your typical version of Conan Doyle’s legendary crime fighter.

Rachel McAdams does her best here as Sherlock’s unobtainable love, Irene Adler, but her performance is nothing amazing nor is it memorable. She seems to be there as an often comedic setup for Downey, and as a way for Holmes to connect the dots and get information about Moriarty he may have otherwise never gotten.

Overall, Sherlock Holmes seems like it knew what is was doing from concept to screen, and it appeared as though they had the full cast in mind the second they started writing it. This is either a compliment to the writers or the actors or both (as usually and should be the case), and that makes it a prime action flick suited for audiences in the 21st century. I personally hope the next one (and I guarantee you there will be a next one) is a step above this chapter, and I see no reason it won’t be. I compare the few problems this movie has to nothing more than a new TV series getting its footing. Once it’s found it’s voice and if the writers don’t sell out and screw up, I see no reason to not be excited nor enjoy the inevitable second and third chapters to come.

*Stills courtesy of Warner Brothers


InMoviesWorld February 20, 2010 at 1:50 AM  

When you wrote about XXI century, I remembered my won review of the film. To my mind, this movie is a transformation of XIX century detective fiction into the XXI century. The XX century had changed the very style of narration of adventures. Things which had been thrilling the reader in XIX century cannot affect the XXI century viewer in the same level. In order to reach the same highness of tension the radically different stylistic means.

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