Saturday, December 12, 2009


By D.E.Levine

Director: Guy Ritchie
Writers: Michael Robert Johnson, Anthony Peckham and Steven Kinberg (screenplay); Lionel Wigram and Michael Robert Johnson (screen story); Arthur Conan Doyle (characters of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson)
Producers: Susan Downey, Dan Lin, Joel Silver and Lionel Wigram
Executive Producers: Bruce Berman, Dana Goldberg and Michael Tadross
Co-producer: Steve Clark-Hall
Associate Producer: Peter Eskelsen
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, Rachel McAdams, Mark Strong, Eddie Marsan, Robert Maillet, Kelly Reilly, William Houston, Hans Matheson, James Fox, William Hope, Clive Russell et al.
Original Music: Hans Zimmer
Running Time: 129 Minutes
Country of Origin: United Kingdom
Language: English
Genre: Mystery, Action, Adventure, Romance

Guy Ritchie has created a different Sherlocke Holmes from the beloved sleuth of Conan Doyle's books and previous movies.

Robert Downey Jr.'s Holmes is flamboyant, glib, smart and good looking. Partnered with a Dr. Watson who has the same characteristics, the two solve crimes in an outrageously attention-getting manner rather than in the quiet, cerebral, deductive manner audiences have grown accustomed to in the past.

While the plot is a bit confusing, the film should be a box office winner since it involves Holmes and Watson in black magic, ritual murders, an evil magician, a resurrection from the grave and a plot to annihilate British Parliament that bears a striking resemblance to The Gunpowder Plot of 1605.

Director Ritchie's signature style sets a fast pace for the movie and as it flys by it's difficult to assess and compile all of the information presented.

The wonders of CGI are abundant as a grimy, grey post-Industrial Revolution London and waterfront with a Tower Bridge still under construction. Superb cinematography combines the CGI and cinematic scenes into a brilliantly visual film.

Thoroughly enjoyable and undoubtedly the first in a series, the film unfortunately has not back story regarding how these new Holmes and Watson characters met and came to be partners. Character development is sparse because of the fast pace but may yet be accomplished in future films.

Downey plays Holmes as if he's under the influence of any number of substances. Readers know from the books that this is how Holmes was described by Doyle and enhances the attitude of Holmes that the reality of others is not his.

Jude Law as Watson is seeking a wife and domicile of his own - something Watson did indeed enjoy in other stories.

It will be interesting to see where the new Holmes and Watson go and whether Ritchie devotes himself to doing a series with his newly created characters.