Starring Robert Downey Jnr, Jude Law and Rachel McAdams
Directed by Guy Ritchie
Holmes (Robert Downey Jnr) is upset that Dr. Watson (Jude Law) is moving out of their bachelor apartments and, we suspect, even more upset that his best friend and companion is to marry but there are bad things afoot and the two friends have crimes to solve.
“The script here is a pretext for fatuous action pyrotechnics, misfiring comedy, the inevitable star from Central Crumpet Casting….in short Doc, Sh’lock and Every Scraped Barrel.” Financial Times
“Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes is a riot. The director takes on a British Institution with a swagger and a wink and the result is boisterous and unabashed fun.” The Times
“Daft but fun.” Daily Mirror
Robert Downey Jnr. extraordinarily, is brilliant casting as a very Bohemian Sherlock Holmes. He is definitely not respectable almost not even English and Jude Law is an equally inspired choice for Dr. Watson.
This Watson is cleverer than some, a more powerful partner than most too in the great detective business of Baker Street. He is, of course and never will be, a match for Holmes who is played by Downey for all he is worth as a down-at-heel, disreputable but brilliant junkie – a very unconventional Victorian indeed. This household has none of the upper crust pretensions of some impersonations of Conan Doyle’s creation. It is a real change and a relief not to have a cast of English toffs fleshing out this story of dastardly deeds and the blackest of magic.
Holmes is one of us – almost as if he has been sent back in history from our more informal age – and he is none the less convincing for this. He is, perhaps the Captain Jack Sparrow of detectives – essentially a comic character with a very human understanding of very human frailties. Robert Downey Jnr, we feel, has woven some of his own interesting past into Holmes’ rich tapestry.
Downey and Law are a perfect double act and it would be no surprize at all if there are more adventures from these two gentlemen.
There is a charismatic performance if maybe just a bit too much knowingness from Rachel McAdams too as Holmes’ “muse,” the equally unconventional and “modern” Irene Adler who adds the female interest and goes some way to show that Holmes and Watson are really just good friends. Well, Guy Ritchie, just manages to steer the boys away from becoming, well, too, er, close.
Ritchie has come into his own as a director after a long wobbly period out there in the wilderness as Mr Madonna because this film has a joyfully light touch, an excellent sense of humour and it looks a million dollars – well I suppose that is because it cost more than that. He benefits from having someone else write his script for him so that he can concentrate on boys’ stuff like directing the action which he does with real energy and wit.
We are given a grimy, gritty London – the Victorian equivalent of Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels – with an evocative and entertaining concentration on the period’s new technologies with plenty of chains, wheels and cogs with everything richly lubricated in oil. This is a boy’s Meccano set film where the design team was allowed to have good schoolboy fun devising Nineteenth Century equivalents of the special effects from a Bond film.
Like many a good film, this one resounds with the feeling that everyone has a whale of a time. It never takes itself too seriously but treats the original stories with respect…in short, it is a lot of fun.
It would be a tragedy for all of us if there isn’t a sequel.