Nothing Escapes Him
Robert Downey Jr.
Running Time: 128 minutes
US Certificate: PG-13 UK Certificate: 12A
Country: Australia, United Kingdom, United States
What a rollercoaster life Guy Ritchie leads. Two years ago, Hollywood wouldnt touch the Madonna-tainted mockney with a bargepole but fast-forward to the present and hes directing Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law in the last blockbuster of 2009.
Sherlock Holmes is the latest classic piece of literature to be the treated to a modern-day makeover replete with CGI and contemporary touches. Super-sleuth Sherlock Holmes (Downey Jr.) and his ever-present sidekick Dr Watson (Law) return to the streets of London to stop a secret society conspiracy led by the sorcerer Lord Blackwood (Strong). Along the way Holmes is double and triple crossed by temptress and con artist, Irene Adler (McAdams), and aided by the incompetent Inspector Lestrade (Marsan).
Law and Downey Jr. share an excellent onscreen chemistry as the two heroes are portrayed as bickering best buddies with plenty of witty banter and humorous barbs. Downey Jr. plays Holmes as a self-destructive genius with a façade of semi catatonia and Jude Laws likeable Dr Watson is arguably his best performance since 1997s Gatacca. This relationship pushes the film further into buddy movie territory than old-school detective film as the sleuthing takes a back seat to action and characterisation. The bad guys lurk around in the background and their potential danger is quite vague throughout and in the end it all turns a little Scooby Doo with a rushed super-deduction finale.
Style is very much the victor over substance and at times it seems that Ritchie is trying to be graphic-action aficionado Robert Zemeckis as he little flirts with slo-mo fighting scenes and comic book villains. In the end, it feels over-stylised, however Guy Ritchies team has created a visual feast in the wonderfully recreated Victorian London on show. The English capital is depicted as a gritty yet elegant bustling metropolis with no detail spared.
It's Got: A great visualisation of Victorian London, good chemistry, a Scooby Doo villain.
It Needs: Less of the pretentious stylisation.
Guy Ritchie does a decent job at reinventing Sherlock Holmes as a modern action hero with the help of excellent performances from Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law.