Director: Guy Ritchie
Cast: Robert Downey Jr, Jude Law, Rachel McAdams, Mark Strong, Kelly Reilly, Eddie Marsan
When the news spread that Guy Ritchie was taking on Arthur Conan Doyle's beloved brainbox, a little bit of fear was understandable. After all, this was the man who brought the world RocknRolla. The only people who weren't scared were the director's devoted fans. Not that their opinion mattered. And sure enough, he's given us a Sherlock sans deerstalker plus bare-knuckle brutality. This isn't the Holmes of your childhood. This isn't even a Holmes movie. This is a Robert Downey Jr movie. And it's quite a lot of fun.
Swaggering along, pipe in hand, Downey Jr owns the streets of period London. And boy does he know it. More cocky than cockney, his crime solver is suave, smart and incredibly silly. Even with the evil Lord Bkackwood (Strong) rising from the dead to take over the world, a playful tone runs through these grimey streets - a welcome touch, which keeps the pace flowing nicely. It should be pointed out that Guy Ritchie didn't write it.
Beefing up the bond between Holmes (Downey Jr) and Watson (Law), the sleuth and his sidekick are more of a couple than anything. Bickering and bantering with well-matched comic timing, their bromance is more interesting than that of Holmes and Irene Sadler (McAdams) or Watson and Mary (Reilly). In fact, neither women have much to do with anything - even Sadler's sneaky double crosser is little more than a plot function with breasts. Mark Strong makes the most of his role as the sinister villain, adding weight to the predictable plot. And Eddie Marsan is excellent as ever as chief of police.
In fact, the cast are Sherlock's real saving grace. Sure, Ritchie keeps the visuals exciting enough (even throwing in a neat play on his trademark slow-motion punch-ups), using wonky flashbacks and nifty production design to conjure up an alternate view of the old capital. But with its predictable plotline and brainless brawling, this isn't quite Holmesy enough to work as a crime thriller - there isn't much crime to solve and while the violin crops up a couple of times, there's little thinking to be had. A shame, really, because Downey Jr definitely has the eccentricity down pat.
Battling bad guys atop Tower Bridge, the all-new Holmes is daring, if not deep, entertainment. Mildly thrilling fun for the 21st Century.
- arthur conan doyle
- baker st
- guy ritchie
- jude law
- mark strong
- rachel mcadams
- robert downey jr