Warner Brothers’ take on the ammeter detective and his sidekick is not something that will likely find much of a “middle ground” with viewers. Instead, this blockbuster will be one of two things. It will either be loved or despised. Then some of us enjoy Sherlock Holmes (2009) for what it is, pure escapism.
Sherlock Holmes (2009) Film Review
Trouble is afoot on the dark streets of London. Evil lurks around the corner so long as a serial killer remains on the loose. And he must be stopped. Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) is the man on the trail, and about to crack yet another case for the police. In the nick of time, Holmes, along with his roommate and friend, Dr. John Watson (Jude Law) burst onto the scene to find the evil Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong) prepared to kill again. Sentenced to death, the streets of London are quiet again. All is well again until rumors spread that the man is back from the dead.
Coinciding with Blackwood’s return is the return of Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams). Notorious for working outside the law, while Sherlock works with it, Irene has a job for him. A simple missing person’s case suddenly ties into the recent reappearance of Blackwood. Tagging along reluctantly is Watson who’s about to marry the love of his life.
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Purists take issue with this recent feature film. Not being among them, I find no fault whatsoever with this in that context. In fact, it’s ingenious. You’ve never seen Sherlock quite like this. Director Guy Ritchie gave his take a unique attitude all its own, which is desperately need when we see the same basic material over and over again. (Depending on who you talk with, filmmakers did so without downgrading the infamous detective we all know and love.) The only thing I did miss was the singularly popular phrase, “elementary, dear Watson.” At one end of the spectrum, you admire him for trying new things, and at the other, we want such faithful touches.
We see various occult ritual (something that may upset some viewers). Personally, I don’t find it overly troubling simply because it doesn’t affect my beliefs. In the end, everything has a logical explanation. Irrespective, I do enjoy this for what it was, and boy, is it a fun ride! Filming is unique while at the same time being bizarre. It plays, in slow motion, out what is going on in Sherlock’s mind, so that you “get” everything that is about to happen. In other words, we see Holmes strategies before they happen. It’s a style of filmmaking that takes adjustment, but after re-watches, it doesn’t even phase me now.
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Each of the characters are well-written. They all retain an aura of mystery, which is sometimes a little unnerving albeit right in this context. I’d be remiss if I didn’t also mention that some find fault with Holmes characterization. Despite his brawling, he’s still clever. In fact, I draw many comparisons between this Sherlock and the BBC series. A few of characters are underused, but once again Mark Strong steals scenes as the villain. There isn’t a weak link here. Since I’m not fond of Downey, seeing him is this made me skeptical but he pulls off the iconic character; while Rachel’s Irene doesn’t get the explanation she should. The costuming is lovely with a design befitting of the era, if not wholly accurate, it does suit the production perfectly.
If it were up to me, I’d say this was a definitive addition to Detective Holmes and Dr. Watson’s collection. But since I never read the original material, perhaps that isn’t fair. With a sequel already cut and waiting release (although this one closes “enough” loose ends should there not be the hint of another case), I can only count down the days until its release.
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You can find Sherlock Holmes (2009) digitally on Amazon VideoSherlock Holmes (2009): An Interesting but Fun Approach. A review of the Guy Ritchie Sherlock Holmes (2009) film with RDJ. #SherlockHolmes #Movies #Adventure Click To Tweet
Content concerns: fist-fights and betting is a theme. Guns fire several times, often hitting intended targets. We see a man is tied naked to a bed (a small pillow covers him). There is some sexual references. Profanity is mostly of the British variety, but is never too offensive. Blackwood practices spells and séances frequently. His goal is to appear immortal. This is PG13