Sherlock Holmes (12A)
Time Out rating:
<strong>Rating: </strong>3/5Rate this
Time Out says
Tue Dec 15 2009Guy Ritchie the director and Guy Ritchie the screenwriter part ways for this latest spin on the Sherlock Holmes story, and if separation turns into divorce it would be no bad thing, at least on the evidence of this big-hearted, atmospheric entertainment. Shed of his tedious infatuation with off-the-peg London gangsters, Ritchie proves a competent teller of the fast-paced, not po-faced yarn. Here, Robert Downey Jr draws on his wild-eyed side to play the detective, while Jude Law assumes the more sober clothes of his sidekick, Dr Watson. Plunging into their careers mid-flow, we watch as they confront a conspiracy of national proportions.
They discover an aristocrat, Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong), in the middle of a ritualistic murder of a young woman. In this early scene, Ritchie’s Holmes reveals himself as a physical titan in a witty interlude in which we witness in slow motion the microscopic details of his plan to incapacitate an assailant by brute force. The villain hangs, but, for Holmes and Watson, this is just the start of a series of fights, rescues, escapes and revelations, all cloaked in creaky supernatural mumbo jumbo.
Ritchie’s ‘Sherlock Holmes’ is effective as a caricatured comedy adventure and shows some fidelity to Arthur Conan Doyle, especially in Downey Jr’s portrayal of the eccentric but cold-hearted Holmes. The banter between Holmes and Watson isn’t as witty as it should be, but the detective’s lone mutterings, especially his deductions, are fun. The film’s biggest success is its evocation of Victorian London, via much location work and CG rendering: here, Ritchie’s grittily romantic view of our city comes into its own, culminating in a delicious climax on the girders of a half-built Tower Bridge.
Author: Dave Calhoun