Sherlock Holmes ~ Guy Ritchie’s 2009 film version of the master detective has had fans up in arms. His action hero take starring Robert Downey Jr. in the title role with Jude Law as Dr. Watson is just what was needed in my opinion. There’s a generational gap here, and while I’m a fan myself, I doubt that many of the younger generation even know who Sherlock Holmes is. Ritchie’s attempt is the shot in the arm to get the ‘kids’ interested in this classic hero.
Similar to this year’s re-imagining/sequel/prequel of Star Trek, this flick is rarely still, constantly moving and always engaging. And engaging is something I really liked about it. Much like the early “24” or every episode of “Dexter” or “The Wire,” you have to pay attention. It doesn’t slow down, or explain things in baby talk – you are either in the movie, or you might as well be at home twiddling your thumbs watching “Everybody Loves Raymond.” The new Sherlock Holmes is not TV for dummies or for the lazy viewer.
Downey and Law are great together, and it makes the film. So much so that when they are not together, the screen suffers. Bromance, buddy film, hetero soulmates, whatever you call it, their relationship, their chemistry, is amazing, worth the price of the ticket right there. Their performances, as well as Ritchie’s work, obviously were inspired by the three’s respect and love of the Jeremy Brett version of Holmes as well as the original source material.
The rest of the cast are excellent too, but let’s be honest, they pale in comparison to the two leads. Robert Maillet, formerly known as the wrestler Kurrgan, does stand out physically as almost a French Ted Cassidy. And Rachel McAdams plays an intriguing yet seductive Irene Adler. The cast’s performance is locked in by the atmosphere, a realistic yet just this side of steampunk Victorian London.
The Hans Zimmer score is impressive and completely suited to the film as are the songs by Isobel Griffiths and the Dubliners (tragically left off the soundtrack). There were also very cool sound effects used during gunshots and explosions – muffling effects as would really happen to the ear in those situations. Brilliant.
I really enjoyed this film. Fun, exciting, and essentially faithful to the source material. I am constantly reminded of this past year’s Star Trek, and if I had seen this in 2009, this new Sherlock Holmes would have easily been in my top five. Recommended.