Archive for October 13th, 2011


The game is afoot!

Everyone knows that no-one plays a bat-shit crazy, excentric genius  like Robert Downey Jnr. I mean if you’ve seen his take on Ironman/Tony Stark then you’ve seen the afore-mentioned character type at its best. Well actually, at its second best.  It turns out that the best is portrayal is one Sherlock Holmes, resident at 221B Baker Street, London.

One day Madonna’s missus, Guy Ritchie decided to steer away from his usual  movies about gangsters with shooters in modern London. Instead he’d do a movie about gangsters with much more primitive shooters, in Victorian London. The story follows Holmes and Watson on their last case before Watson gets married.  Along the way we get magic, secret societies, fist fights, stick fighting, and of course, gorgeous women in corsets.

I am not going to go into the story. Frankly it’s complicated, with surprising twists and turns at every stage. Enough to say that it is precisely what you would expect from both Guy Richie and a Holmes movie.

What I am going to talk about is the movie as a whole, itself. The writing is sharp, quick, and hilarious. The sets are simply amazing, everything you would expect from the very best period drama. The costumes are incredible. The editing flawless, with the movie never slowing down, or becoming boring in any way for even an instant. The casting is simply superb.  Downey’s Holmes is not the staid, purely cerebral character we all grew up with on television. He’s a scrapping bastard, who takes pleasure from sort of torturing Watson’s bulldog. He’s mean, nasty, unpleasant, and charming as hell. Jude Laws Watson is a stereotype of the retired veteran British officer, just as the character always has been. But unlike other versions he’s much a man of action, as he is a man of medicine.

There is only really one let down, and that’s the score. It’s frankly rather humdrum. Exactly what you would expect, and oddly out-of-place in this movie for that very reason.

I have to say I was hugely skeptical when I heard that this movie was being shot. There’s been so many attempts to capture on-screen, both large and small, the barely contained madness that fuels the genius of Sherlock Holmes as he was portrayed in the books.  Very few of them have ever come even vaguely close. Some how Mr. Madonna manages it better than most. Even if in the end it is achieved in large part by his leaning heavily on the acting talents of Robert Downey Jnr. as Holmes and Jude Law as Watson. Regardless of how I am now waiting expectantly for the sequel, time to see this new Holmes go up against Moriarty the Napolean of Crime.

%d bloggers like this: