Movie Review by Susan Hodgetts
Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Jude Law, Rachel McAdams, Mark Strong, Kelly Reilly
Director: Guy Ritchie
Boys’ own director Guy Ritchie is back with a mish-mash of Japanese-style influenced fighting sequences, interwoven with the gothic magic themes of HARRY POTTER and THE LORD OF THE RINGS. It’s a combination which sees this “action adventure mystery” jump on the bandwagon of the zeitgeist. But what it might lose at times in the originality of its plotting, it gains in the enjoyable combination of Robert Downey Junior as Holmes and Jude Law as Watson.
Infamous sleuth Holmes is going out of his mind with boredom quite literally when he ties up the case of the murderer who has been offering up women in ritual sacrifices (Lord Blackwood, played by Mark Strong). But as he awaits the hangman’s noose, the black magic maestro is adamant that he will once again rise after death, a claim that seems risible yet strikes fear at the heart of every man in London. The sudden reappearance of Holmes’ old flame Irene Adler (Amy Adams), his true love and a master criminal, stirs Holmes out of his stupor to suspect that there’s more to Blackwood’s claim than meets the eye. The ever-faithful Watson tags along like a spunky dog, grappling to be let off his lead by his controlling owner but lured irresistibly back to the danger. Lucky he has such an understanding fiancee in the form of Kelly Reilly’s Mary.
Law and Downey Junior bring a nicely balanced humour to the lead performances and Downey Junior’s performance in particular is note perfect, encapsulating the almost comic uselessness of this genius who’s simply far too smart to be able to lead a normal life, his irascibleness making him slightly adorable even. But ultimately this is a boys’ film full of big ideas which starts out quite gripping in places in terms of its setup but suffers a loss of credibility particularly towards its climax, where it turns to a cliched resolution that wouldn’t look out of place in a POTTER movie.