While there is no doubt that Guy Ritchie is a talented filmmaker, most his films to date have seemed to be retreads of Lock, Stock, then there’s Swept Away which no one wants to spend too much time thinking about. So with his latest film, Sherlock Holmes, Ritchie was given a fantastic opportunity to break the mold he’s fashioned for himself. And break it he does, with the flair and style that one would expect from the likes of Guy Ritchie.
Perhaps Holmes enthusiast will hate on Ritchie’s vision of the super sleuth, because it is unlike any of the films that have come before it. Ritchie and his team have infused a classic Holmes mystery with some really great action and Ritchie’s signature cinematic style to turn the franchise into something that is both kinetic and exciting. I suppose one could liken it to J.J. Abrams’ relaunch of Star Trek in that way.
But what really makes this film work more than anything else is the chemistry between Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law. They are a perfect Holmes and Watson. It’s amazing to think now that Downy was ever on the outs with Hollywood. His star has risen so high and is shinning brighter than ever, and adding Holmes to his resume is more fuel for the fire. As if one successful franchise (Iron Man) wasn’t enough, now we can only hope that he’ll down the cap and pipe again. And with the glimpse of one Dr. Moriarty, we can only assume that more films is exactly what they’ve got planned.
Beneath the stylistic cinematography, added action and great acting there is a solid Sherlock Holmes mystery tying the whole thing together. Holmes and Watson have just put away one evil bastard, Lord Henry Blackwood (Mark Strong) and he his hung for his crimes. But just as Watson is about to retire from the mystery game and settle down with a wife, Blackwood comes back from the dead with an evil plot to overthrow society. So now Holmes and Watson along with the unlikely help of Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams), an American thief who has twice before bested Holmes and seems to have stolen his heart as well, must figure out what’s really going on and stop Blackwell before he succeeds in completing his nefarious plan.
This film really has everything you’d want from a movie like this: Great mystery, great action, great characters and fantastic acting. It’s a solidly entertaining film. With Sherlock Holmes Ritchie has finally proven that he’s got more than one card up his sleeve.
The film is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen and 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround sound. This is a fantastic looking film. It’s very clean and polished but Ritchie still manages to give 1890’s London a grimy realistic feel.
Sherlock Holmes Revisited: (15 min.) A pretty standard behind-the-scenes making of, but there is some interesting stuff in here. The most frustrating thing is that it leaves you wanting more. It seems that there must be a plethora of great material that they could present about the making of this film. Sadly, you only get a glimpse of it here.
Is this one of the best movie’s of the year? Certainly not. But it’s a solidly entertaining mystery action film with top-notch performances by all involved. I guess if you’re a Holmes traditionalist, Ritchie’s cinematic style might annoy you, but other than that I see no reason why someone wouldn’t enjoy this film. Downey, Jr. proves once again that he’s better than ever and here to stay.
Warner Home Video presents Sherlock Holmes. Directed by Guy Ritchie. Written by Michael Robert Johnson, Anthony Peckham and Simon Kinberg. Story by Lionel Wigram. Based on characters by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Starring Robert Downey, Jr., Jude Law, Rachel McAdams and Mark Strong. Running time: 128 minutes. Rated PG-13. Released on DVD: March 30, 2010. Available at Amazon.com.
Mike Noyes received his Masters Degree in Film from the Academy of Art University, San Francisco. A few of his short films can be viewed here: http://www.youtube.com/user/mikebnoyes. He recently published his first novel which you can buy here: https://www.amazon.com/Seven-Days-Years-Mike-Noyes-ebook/dp/B07D48NT6B/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1528774538&sr=8-1&keywords=seven+days+seven+years