Saturday, June 12, 2010

Sherlock Holmes. 2009.

I was hoping that the newest Sherlock Holmes film would be a Victorian children’s pop up book of a movie but instead it’s a loud confusing superhero video game for easily bored teens. Using the overused plot that many Victorian thrillers have been using of late you know the one about the secret or...ganization with the evil supposedly upstanding citizens plotting to take over the world or committing grisly murders or both. But this film pushes it up and out of the 19th century into the 21st by the use of fast, dizzying and gimmicky editing along with violent and way too many unnecessary fight scenes that are so dark and kinetic that at times you can’t tell who is hitting whom. Robert Downey plays the great detective and Jude Law his loyal sidekick but they are both way too modern to do any justice to their Victorian poses and are not very compelling or endearing to boot. There is some subliminal homoeroticism back and forth between them, which we’ve come to expect from contemporary interpretations of Holmes and Watson, (I guess this began with Billy Wilder’s much more subtle and elegant The Private Life Of Sherlock Holmes) but Guy Ritchie plays it safe and introduces a romantic foil played by the very attractive and appealing Rachel McAdams as the shifty and thieving Irene Adler for Sherlock and a nearly invisible fiancé pushed into the frames for Watson which no doubt was introduced to ward off any walking out on the movie by the teens and young women who had probably ventured into the theatres or rented the film to see these two heartthrobs strut their macho stuff. The plot which is thin and stringy is very confusing with too many characters who come and go and go and come and lots of dialogue that gets lost because of the loud heart pounding score and the lightly spoken conversations and studied British accent that Downey puts on, not very convincingly I might add. Downey can be very fine when playing lost and bewildered American schnooks and losers, but to me he is totally miscast as Holmes. Jude Law is his usual eye candy self but he’s way too young and unlived in to play Watson, Holmes’s much put upon friend and partner in solving crimes and sharing rooms. The story line is dense and confusing (no less than five writers are credited with writing the screenplay) with a very unsatisfying ending where everything is hastily explained and tied up into a not so neat little package and placed in a Victorian Chinese box. Granted the film which was photographed by the great Philippe Rousselot looks beautiful, grimy and gross with great computer generated effects and really cool details and there is one terrific big French giant of a villain who livens things up a bit, but overall my heart still belongs to Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce. .


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