Thursday, December 31, 2009

W - Sherlock Holmes

Went and saw this with my son the other day. He seems to get me out to new movies a lot. I really wasn't sure what to expect on this because the previews were a bit confusing in that they seemed to want to portray it as a comedy with occasional bursts of drama. The reviews I read, on the other hand, tried to compare it to the Sherlock Holmes books and seemed disappointed that the movie didn't live up to the books in terms of dramatic content. The previews seemed promising, however, so off we went.

The first thing I would have to say is that this is not the classic Holmes you've seen in the past. Robert Downey, Jr. does a fine job of being this interpretation of the great detective. He has the right blend of OCD, slackerdom and frenetic energy to make the character work.

Jude Law as Dr. Watson seems to come across more often as petulant than profound. The portrayal of the character somehow doesn't quite match the role Dr. Watson has in the film. But that is really a minor nit, the general feel between the two characters works most of the time. The female leads don't really have much point to them, but they do add a bit of eye-candy.

The plot itself is well-crafted, with that traditional Holmesian sense that you are dealing with the supernatural. Strange things happen and strange people do them. Mark Strong does a great job as the evil Lord Blackwood. I felt a bit like his character was not quite entirely developed, but he did a superb job of showing his contempt for Holmes and all ordinary mortals.

Finally, the cinematography was better than most recent films I've seen, without too much of the rapid cuts and scene changes that make it hard to watch so many films today. In addition the sets are very richly developed - even if a lot of the backgrounds are so clearly paintings.

Overall it was a film that I enjoyed thoroughly, not too heavy, not too deep, not too trivial (although without any particular moral), fun to watch and with enough twists and turns to the plot to keep me interested all the way through. I give it a slightly conditional B+ and recommend it with no real reservations.

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