Sherlock Holmes

| December 26, 2009

It was a dark and stormy night. Christmas, 2010. And I was transported back to 1860’s London by a director who had, at least 3 times before, given me a headache with disjointed, darkly colored movies that needed much explanation. Former Madonna squeeze (guess you would need more there) Guy Ritchie had great success with 1998’s Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels but does he have to make everything else seem like that movie?
Holmes is purposefully dark. So much so that when Ritchie actually shows a portion of London which is not dreary, it should have signaled something important in the story, waking me up from my post Christmas Figgy Pudding stupor, but alas, it did not. Besides the radiant costuming of Rachel McAdams (Tie Traveler’s Wife, Red Eye) as Irene Adler, it is a generally dark and stormy run through the Holmes mythology and methodology. The best part of the movie, in fact, are the few times when we witness Holmes “see” the next immediate few steps in his life’s chess match and a flashback to “see” what we just “saw.” Like taking a look behind the curtain of a magician’s trick to realize that it was all done with a trap door.
Holmes, played by Robert Downey Jr., seems to be at a point in his life when it all becomes boring, so the drugs and alcohol kick in. Downey didn’t seem to have much difficulty getting into that part of the role – even easier than most parts he plays. Though I must say I enjoy him more in the more Mental parts he plays (The Soloist, Charlie Bartlett, Zodiac) than the Physical parts (Iron Man 1,2,3) In Holmes, he is given both types, and the physical is nowhere near as interesting or believable.
The story begins with Holmes and his friend Dr. John Watson (Jude Law) closing the case of a serial killer, Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong from Body of Lies, The Young Victoria), who is subsequently hanged. When he mysteriously returns from the grave (hmmmm, opened on Jesus’ birthday) and continues to terrorize the city, Holmes shakes off his stupor and picks up the chase. Soon, he finds he is dealing with something far larger than first suspected. No spoilers here, but let’s say that deceit, murder, and yet another movie dealing with Black Magic play a major role. Meanwhile, we are also treated to a possible deeper relationship between Holmes and Watson than we may have ever imagined.
This is a flick that is going to open huge, get all sorts of play, and even got Downy Jr. a nomination for Best Actor (musical or comedy) by the Golden Globes. But when the sequels are announced, you will decided that you really didn’t enjoy this one enough to go back for a second helping. Stick to the Figgy Pudding.

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