• Daniel Rae

Sherlock Holmes Review

"Sherlock Holmes", Village Roadshow Productions, 2009

Whilst in one breath I find the way that the director guides his Guy Ritchie-isms interestingly methodical that helps enhance the off-kilter feel of the world that the film exists in, in the other I find that this undercuts the sense of grounding and cohesion that this movie needs to not only effectively pay homage to the source material, but also using it as a platform to explore new ideas.

Downey Jr's Sherlock reads to me as surprisingly strange one. Whilst I enjoyed the theatrical nature of his performance through the playful and velvety pronunciation of a British accent, as well as his stage-like body language he adopts, this conflicts with his staple misanthropic representation that other adaptions have explored much more creatively (BBC's "Sherlock" stands out) in terms of how it effects the narrative and the lens of identification that the audience has with the protagonist in comparison to the other characters. Whilst Ritchie's more flamboyant direction towards the role aims to explore different notions of charm intregal to the character, I feel that this feature of his identity is not fully explored and/or realised, since the story here is much more plot-driven. This more steadfast illustration does pay off with some playful strands that the narrative takes, often withholding information from the audience that grounds an infectious exuberant sense of energy. This may explain why this is constructed from a very simple plot of the antagonist "coming back from the dead" - perhaps in order for Ritchie and his writers to find interesting scenarios that vary up the pacing. However, I find the treatment towards this structure unfulfilling sometimes, with many points of stagnation before the action suddenly starts up again. The opportunity for world-building here or exploring character motivations beyond the baseline binary forces of good and evil is missed, instead choosing to juggle up the sense of rhythm between the 3 acts to gauge the viewer. Whilst this opens the window for comedic tone towards the writing, this leaves me with not much to engage with, especially emotionally.

Overall, whilst I did enjoy the sometimes absurdist directions that the plot takes with tone and styles of narrative structure, flippantly jumping between rhetoric and associational, this is, ultimately, a forgettable entry into the mystery/action genre.

2.5/5 Stars

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