"Sherlock Holmes": Movie Review (2010)

2/08/2010 Posted by Admin

Movie Review

"Sherlock Holmes"

Directed by Guy Ritchie, written by Michael Robert Johnson, Anthony Peckham and Simon Kinberg, rated PG-13.

By our guest blogger, Jeremy Wilkinson

Guy Ritchie attempts to bring a legend to the screen with "Sherlock Holmes," the 2009 film starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law. It’s certainly an ambitious project as a character so old is already well formed in so many minds. Downey and crew have much to live up to, but "Sherlock Holmes" entertains in spite of its flaws.

In the film, Holmes (Downey) and Dr. Watson (Law) manage to stop the sinister Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong) from finishing a ritual murder. Blackwood is taken in by the authorities and is sentenced to be hanged. Soon after, Watson reveals that he plans on leaving Baker Street to start is own business. But when witnesses see Blackwood rise from his grave, Holmes and Watson set out to discover how Blackwood came back--and why.

Let’s get the main criticism out of the way--this is not a true “mystery” film. Yes, there is a mystery to be solved but the focus is not so much on audience participation. The movie shows Holmes’ gears spinning as he puts the pieces together. However, it does not drop too many hints that would allow the viewer to solve the mystery based on something other than intuition or mere conjecture. "Sherlock Holmes" contains more action scenes than you might expect for a movie based on a detective. For some, this will detract from the experience.

That being said, the is well done. Holmes is (surprisingly) well-versed in hand-to-hand combat, but the fights are not really a martial arts spectacle. The violence is stylized enough to be cinematic. The shots where Holmes analyzes how to fight are particularly entertaining. 

A high point of the film is the dynamic between Downey and Law. Their acting is top notch and they have great chemistry. Their conversations are a great source of comedy and character development. Downey plays Holmes as a brilliant detective who needs the thrill of a complex case to keep his mind focused. Law makes Watson a partner worthy of Holmes, rather than the bumbling sidekick other adaptations have made the character. Watson often plays the straight man to Holmes’ ramblings. Mark Strong manages to be creepy and menacing as Lord Blackwood, whose belief in magic serves as the perfect antagonist to the rational-minded Holmes. Rachel McAdams also brings something to the table as Irene Adler, the femme fatale who has actually managed to outwit Holmes. Her acting is overshadowed a bit by the two leads, but she’s no slouch.

The music is superbly done, adding to the experience of nearly every scene that utilizes it. The camerawork and look of the film fit perfectly in with the rest of the package.

All in all, "Sherlock Holmes" is one of the most entertaining films of 2009. Great acting is accompanied by a slick style. The story clips along at a good pace, so one is never bored and the whole package is wrapped in beautiful visuals and sounds. Literary purists will no doubt take exception to some of the aspects of the movie, but that is unavoidable.

If you haven't already, be sure to check this one out--you won’t regret it.

Grade: A-

View the trailer for "Sherlock Holmes" below. What did you think of the movie?

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  1. Hugo said...

    I'm gonna have to watch this movie.

  2. lisa said...

    Oldest daughter loved. I missed 1st time around. Gonna have to catch next time... your review cements any lingering doubts. Thx.