Sherlock Holmes (Guy Ritchie, 2009): UK/USA

Reviewed by Elias Posada. Viewed at the Riviera Theatre in Santa Barbara

sherlock_holmes_movie_posteraCan “Ironman” really portray arguably the most infamous detective of all time? This question was answered in Guy Ritchie’s modern version of Sherlock Holmes. Robert Downey Jr., who ever since his comeback in the film Ironman has been steamrolling through Hollywood, seems to handle the job quite well. Although there were rough moments, on the whole I feel that he did a great job. However, his co-stars Jude Law and Rachel McAdams, really pull the film together.

The film begins as Sherlock Holmes (Downey Jr.) and John Watson (Jude Law) are finishing a case involving several murders. They interrupt what seems to be a sacrificial ritual being led by Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong), a member of the House of Lords. They sentence Blackwood to death by hanging. However, before being hanged Blackwood assures Holmes that his death is just the beginning of a catastrophic event and many more will die. Blackwood continues to tell Holmes that there is no way he can stop it. Holmes does not take this seriously until Blackwood’s body is missing from his grave site. In trying to figure out how this has happened, Holmes runs into an old friend and possible love interest Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams), who seems to be using Holmes to get what she needs for her employer. The film follows these characters in a fast paced mystery adventure with Holmes leading the way trying to stop Lord Blackwood.

Guy Ritchie’s portrayal of England and its underground at this time was perfect. I did not see anything that led me to believe this was not the proper time period. He also did a great job at making the city seem dark. Like there was something going on it gave the film an eerie feel. Also, the camera work was really well done. It got the audience into the action without making them dizzy. The CGI was also used pretty well. I usually do not like CGI when it is used in excess. This film seemed to use it just right and with the solid story line you could hardly notice.

The acting was also done very well. Downey Jr.’s sense of humor and wit really showed in this film. At times his accent was a little difficult to understand but I do not think that took away from the film too much. Those lines tended to be insignificant to the major plot. However, I do feel those lines should have been addressed. Jude Law really stole the show. His portrayal of Watson was flawless. And being an English actor, his accent did not cause any issue. He really seemed to capture his character of Watson and I feel that no one could have been better casted for this role in this film. Rachel McAdam’s really did try to hold her own against these two actors and she did a decent job. The actress who was not used to action roles really did well only with minor times when I didn’t buy her as a thief or tough girl.

Finally, the musical score was really excellent and really kept the audience into the action parts and the slower parts. It really brought the city and the characters to life whenever it was played.

If you want to see a traditional Sherlock Holmes film this may not be the one for you. If you want a film that will keep you guessing and on the edge of your seat, this film may be more your pace. I think this film was good enough to take your family out on Christmas day and enjoy it.

About this entry