Thursday, December 31, 2009

Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes, 2009
Dir: Guy Ritchie
December 30, 2009

We all knew that Sherlock Holmes (2009) would be a Guy Ritchie film, the trailers made sure about that. The question remained, however, whether the detective tale would have anything to do with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s creation besides the title. Well, it begins by showing the Ritchie aesthetic, with Robert Downey Jr.’s Holmes deducing in his mind how he will dispatch a watchdog goon standing guard. The slo-motion stylings in his head soon become a normal speed/quick edit reality and the adventure has begun. There's even a bare-knuckled boxing match set to folksy British isle music (not The Stranglers though) for the Ritchie auteurists to sink their teeth into. I like the Holmes tales (so there is a reason why I went to see this), as I have some sentimental attachment to most stuff that I enjoyed as a kid, and even more to the character itself. Robert Downey Jr. does at great job at portraying some vague cartoon of Holmes, but actually liking the stories may be a hindrance to liking this a whole lot. Not that he and Jude Law aren't good in their buddy bits, but putting the cleverest line of a movie in a trailer is really killing a lot of films these days. Rachel McAdams isn't gonna change your mind on how you think about her. And is Mark Strong really that menacing? It doesn't help that the story, while trying to get into that whole Victorian/industrial revolution/secret society atmosphere, sort of left me feeling like I was watching Tom Hanks scramble around in Angels and Demons (2009). Oh, yeah. All that occult/black magic red herring stuff too. The only thing that kind of kept my interest for the most part was having Moriarty skulk outside the main plot, teasing us for what surely will be a sequel. That and the fact that Ritchie has always done a pretty decent job with that whole gritty underground London thing. There's no need to be excited about this though. It's all spectacle and no engagement. All explosions and no suspense. A coulda-been-juicy update capsized by its own trickery.


No comments: