Sherlock Holmes * * * 1/2

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Director: Guy Ritchie.
Screenplay: Michael Robert Johnson, Anthony Peckham, Simon Kinberg.
Starring: Robert Downey, Jr, Jude Law, Rachel McAdams, Mark Strong, Eddie Marsan, Kelly Reilly, Robert Maillet, Geraldine James, Hans Matheson, William Hope, James Fox.

Guy Ritchie knows a thing or two about the up’s and down’s and in’s and out’s of London, so who better to give us a revamp of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s super deducer “Sherlock Holmes” than “Snatch”s cockney geezer? Getting involved, more surprisingly though is Robert Downey, Jr. as the Holmes boy himself.

Supernatural plans are afoot for Holmes and Watson this time around as the very sinister Lord Blackwood has been meddling in occult affairs and sacrificing innocent young women to further his gains. Once brought to justice, Blackwood is hanged for his crimes but this is only the beginning of Holmes’ problems. Blackwood then seemingly rises from the dead with even greater powers and a stronger influence on the people of the city.
Ritchie’s period look of 19th century London is brilliantly realised and he uses his gritty, grainy and almost sepia hue to perfect effect here. What he also brings to the table is his penchant for violence, with some impressive slow-motion action scenes. His vision of Holmes is more of a fighter and less of a thinker. It’s quite an odd choice but Downey Jr is perfect in the role. He injects a lot of humour into the character and plays him as a drug and alcohol induced extrovert, with a glazed madness over his eyes and nice comic touches. Jude Law also lends excellent support as his trusted sidekick Dr. Watson, who is as tough as he is educated. They make a good double act in what is essentially a buddy-buddy movie with them both playing off one another. However, the story itself is a little disappointing and hard to suspend your disbelief with the villianous Mark Strong absent for quite a lot of the film. Not to mention, a thankless role for Rachel McAdams who is reduced to nothing more than a token love interest. Make no mistake, this is the Holmes and Watson show and nobody else really gets a look in.

There’s plenty of fun to be had but let’s hope they tighten it up a little for the sequel.

Mark Walker

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