Thursday, January 14, 2010

Sherlock Holmes Review

Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes bull’s-eyes morphing Classic English Literature into Big Budget Movie.

A film fatally flawed in the casting phase, Holmes panders to an American audience with its gratuitously un-British lead and big effects budget. Robert Downey Jr. turns in a stellar (if indulgent) performance, but I just don't buy him as Holmes, despite his brilliant acting chops and sharing Holmes’ interest in certain, shall we say, winter sports. Jude Law laid down an adequately romantic Watson to keep the ladies in their seats.

Quippy dialog entertains, but not enough to carry the film, or deliver more than a hat tip to Doyle’s brilliance. Holmes’ most valuable asset (his intellect) is sadly overshadowed by explosions, fight scenes, and visual effects, leaving the film reeking of American Blockbuster. The only thing that made me think Guy Ritchie was the soundtrack.

Casting. Choosing Gary Oldman and Tim Roth for the roles of Holmes and Watson would have improved this film dramatically, despite their more advanced years; I think fans of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead would agree. Daniel Craig opposite Law would have been a more honest choice for Anglophiles.

Guy Ritchie enjoyed an unusual sophomoric peak but has slid downhill from there, which may explain his reach for what will certainly be a new box-office franchise. Sherlock Holmes is thankfully more watchable that his last two efforts, but doesn’t make me hungry for an excessively foreshadowed sequel.

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