Monday, January 4, 2010

Sherlock Holmes

"Phone call... It's. Your. Mother."

Amidst mystery and intrigue, Holmes must come to terms with the fact that Watson is leaving him- possibly for good.

You may not realise it, but you've actually already seen Sherlock Holmes. Or at least, you've seen most of the good parts. This movie is the latest to fall victim to what I've come to call the "Milk For Free" preview. Loosely translated, it means you saw all the best parts of Sherlock Holmes in the trailer.
This is not to say that there is absolutely nothing worth while in the full length film. The most entertaining thing about the movie is the odd couple pairing of Jude Law as the straight laced, ex-military Watson, and Robert Downey Jr. as the brilliant and therefore eccentric Sherlock Holmes.
Both make the roles pop, Jr. only tweaking his usual wit at the speed of light, foot in my mouth portrayal. I may not sound like I'm singing praises but the fact is it never gets old, even after two and a half hours. Unfortunately, the rest of the movie does.
It's not that it's badly made or written, it's just that somehow the movie seems a bit standard. Watching Sherlock Holmes feels a bit like a phone conversation with your mother: "Oh hey! ...I'm fine, you? ... Good ...OK ...uh-huh ...No ...Oh that's funny! ...yup ...alright that sounds good ...Love you too. Bye." As a matter of fact I guess it's even more like that than I thought because your still glad you did it, even if nothing really happened.
To say Sherlock Holmes isn't Guy Ritchie's best film really isn't an insult either. With a filmography that includes Snatch. , Rock'n Rolla and Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels that's pretty much like saying Minority Report isn't your favorite Spielberg film. Still, he does some beautiful things with this film, not the least of which is snatching slow-motion back from the frothing jaws of bullet-time, which seems to be the only thing anyone wants to use it for anymore.
The mysteries are certainly true to the style of Sir Aurthur Conan Doyle's writing. And the re-imagining of Holmes into a capable fighter who uses his brilliance to fuel his brutal martial arts is interesting (and beautifully filmed), but it's just not enough to make me recommend this movie. In Rachel McAdam's character we are offered what feels like a rather interesting bit of back story headed our way, but it's left at just that- a feeling. Standing alone this is an interesting choice, but placed in an already lean movie it feels a bit like a tease.
To everyone who asks me I tell them that unless they love one of the leading men it could be worth relegating to home theater status. But I consider myself a bit of a fan of Robert Downey Jr. and still was unimpressed. Sherlock Holmes doesn't do anything wrong in so many words, it just lacks that certain tang to pique interest. While the movie certainly wasn't a waste of my money or my time, in the end I'd say my favorite choices for the main characters are still Data and Geordi LaForge.

Reel Deal Recommends:
Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang: A seriously great film starring Jr. that not nearly enough people saw.
Road to Perdition: Jude Law stepping out of his usual in a hugely moving story.
Time Traveler's Wife: McAdams helps prove that good sci-fi has a heart.

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