Posted on January 1, 2010
Entertainment Value: 8.5/10 Critical Value: 8/10
British director Guy Ritchie, who is best known for Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998) and Snatch(2000) brings audiences an adaptation of Sherlock Holmes that combines the intelligent detective most audience know with the seasoned fighter that is less well known.
Sherlock Holmes, played by Robert Downey Jr, and Watson (Jude Law) are caught in a battle against Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong). Blackwood apparently rises from the dead after his execution and is now bent on fulfilling a nefarious plot that is revealed as the movie progresses.
Robert Downey Jr. brings the same great performance that was present in Iron Man. Casting an American was a questionable choice and lead sceptics to believe this was another case of Hollywood studios favouring American actors. For the most part, Downey is able to successfully imitate an English accent. However, he talks too fast at times to be understood and this comment is coming from someone who has lived in England for two years. Law also does an excellent job as Watson, with himself and Downey doing a great job of portraying the brotherly bond the characters share. The writing leads to humour between the two, but more solemn moments that portray the conflict created over their conflicts in the film, especially Watson deciding to marry and moving away from Holmes. Strong also portrays an intelligent and cunning villain whose screen presence possess great power. Rachel McAdams, plays Irene Alder, the only criminal ever to elude Holmes. Her performance is the weakest in the film but is still fairly impressive. Her role as a femme fatale could have been done better with a more talented actress.
One of the main criticisms that can be found elsewhere with Sherlock Holmes is that portraying Holmes as a fighter is inaccurate. However, according to some of Holmes’s literature, he was skilled in boxing and several martial arts. The fight scenes are thrilling and utilize slow motion sparingly, to illustrate Holmes’s calculated fighting style.
The dialogue lacks any lines that appear to be lazy writing or simply cheesy. However, there were some instances of jokes that did not fit with the generally polished nature of the writing. Special effects are also used sparingly but are impressive for the most part, with the exception of one scene where they appeared somewhat cartoonish.
Sherlock Holmes is a able to provide intellectual stimulation as well as thrilling action sequences which are all rolled into a film just over two hours. Those who were older fans of Sherlock Holmes as well as those whose interest was peeked by advertising will enjoy the film.