Film Review - Sherlock Holmes
Starring - Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, Rachel McAdams, Mark Strong | Directed by - Guy Ritchie | Warner Bros DVD WS PG-13 128min 2009
Review By Juliet
It's been three months since Sherlock Holmes' last case, and the brilliant detective is going a bit stir-crazy. When Lord Blackwood is to be executed, he requests an audience with Holmes. Before being hanged, Blackwood tells Holmes that they are connected and that there will be three more murders that he'll be unable to stop. After the execution, Holmes reunites with Irene Adler, a master criminal and old flame. She asks Holmes to track down a missing man, but not all is what it seems. But there are more pressing concerns when it appears that Lord Blackwood is, in fact, not dead and the man Irene is seeking is in the coffin. And thus the game is afoot. After a scuffle with some thugs and a fight with Watson, Holmes is summoned by a secret society of practitioners of magic. Among them is Lord Blackwood's father, Sir Thomas, who warns Holmes that Blackwood has great power. In his search for Blackwood, Holmes becomes a wanted man. Soon he, Watson and Irene unravel Blackwood's plan and have to stop an attack on Parliament before it's too late.
The trailer for this film played on Robert Downey Jr's success as Tony Stark in Iron Man. The actual film is a bit less Iron Man and a bit more Mystery (or as they call it now Masterpiece Mystery). That's actually not to say that there aren't a decent amount of witty exchanges nor does Sherlock Holmes lack a sufficient amount of quirks. It's also fair to say that this film, while very good, is not your grandfather's Sherlock Holmes. However, the liberties they take with the character and storyline work with the established character while adding some appeal for the larger audience.
In terms of acting, the leading men really delivered. Robert Downey Jr. was a great choice for Holmes, giving the character personality without making him over the top. Jude Law really surprised me as Dr. Watson. I've grown so used to seeing him as the leading man that it was exciting to watch him blend into a supporting role with such ease. Mark Strong was a perfect choice for Blackwood, given his smiley performances in both Kick-Ass and Robin Hood. Rachel McAdams gave a good performance as Irene though I found her character to be a bit bland. One note on the dialogue is that most of it is extremely fast. If you're used to British TV or films, this will come as no shock. This is actually a very fast moving film over all. There are a few lulls here and there, but for the most part, plan to pay full attention when watching lest you miss something important. And speaking of important things, this film definitely isn't over until it's over. I don't want to spoil the ending, but I enjoyed the fact that it was surprising without being your typical Hollywood "gotcha" twist.
The only special feature on this DVD is Sherlock Holmes: reinvented with Guy Ritchie and Robert Downey Jr. talking about bringing the detective to life. The Blu-ray has a few more special features including Maximum Movie Mode, which is almost too much for me so I'll be sticking with DVD.
I wouldn't call this a cinematic masterpiece, but it's an entertaining film that does a classic character justice. It's worth checking out.