Welcome back Guy Ritchie!
I have to be honest, I thought â€œRocknRollaâ€ was an over-polished muddle, and the couple (â€œRevolverâ€, â€œSwept Awayâ€) that came before it, stunk worse than Madonnaâ€™s gym-bra after a bout of calisthenics. But the Brit brains behind classic crime actioners â€œLock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrelsâ€ and â€œSnatchâ€ makes a formidable return to form with â€“ whoâ€™d have guessed!? â€“ â€œSherlock Holmesâ€!
Ritchieâ€™s film is not only customarily smart, fun, loyal to the source material and bursting with energy, it features one of the best turns by an actor this year….
…. one Robert Downey Jr!
Did anyone else catch the sash and white horse the â€œHolmesâ€â€™ star just rode back into town with? Man, that guy is on fire! And if you loved him as the pert zillionaire Tony Stark, his brilliant turn as the 221b-aboding detective â€“ which will see his star remains seared for quite some time â€“ will have you begging for the academy for a ballot form!
Downey plays Arthur Conan Doyleâ€™s 18th century dick as an ass-kicking, forward-thinking, deductive detective. Itâ€™s a beautifully-fresh spin on the character that the Oscar Nominated actor brings, without forgetting the whereâ€™s and whyâ€™s of the literary heroâ€™s origins and make-up.
Holmes has a comedic rapport [and, OK, Iâ€™m just gonna say it! – borderline romantic relationship!] with long-suffering partner Dr. John Watson, played with relish by the equally stupendous Jude Law. Watson continually tries to dissolve his crime-solving partnership with Holmes, if only because the latter is regularly getting the straight-laced Watson in hot water.
And after solving their last case together, Watson decides to focus on his engagement to the lovely Mary (Kelly Reilly) and Holmes is left to experiment on his pet Bulldog and…. on himself â€“ right up until the detective & docâ€™s last case comes back from the dead!
Mark Strong (â€˜â€™RocknRollaâ€™â€™) plays the devious Lord Blackwood, who uses what-appears-to-be black magic to thwart his enemies (but there is an even bigger foe to be dealt with in the impending sequel, a so-far-faceless chap named Moriarty), whilst the beautiful Rachel McAdams, though miscast, provides pretty scenery as the tartish Irene Adler, a petty thief whoâ€™s captured Holmesâ€™ heart and constantly keeps him on his toes.
Downey Jr. has gone from crashing on neighboursâ€™ couches to playing some of the best characters in film. He’s an amazing and versatile actor whose wit and humor shines through his performances â€“ and no exception here, his performance as Holmes is amazing! He is very believable as the classic detective, using logic and forensics to solve crime, whilst bringing his trademark charm and cheekiness to the part. Gotta love the guy!
Points too to Ritchie and screenwriter Michael Robert Johnson, whose effervescent script provides plenty of brain-teasing fun for audiences, without ever feeling it needs to slow up and leisurely explain the finer points of the whodunit to those having trouble keeping up. Itâ€™s a comedy, but itâ€™s a smart one!
Also great – the fight choreography, bringing to mind â€˜â€™Fight Clubâ€™â€™; the Steampunk elements add a great twist on Victorian London; the chemistry of the leads; and Hans Zimmerâ€™s amazing score.
Ritchie’s â€˜â€™Holmesâ€™â€™ is not only solid (the only drawbacks being Strong’s somewhat clichÃ©d portrayal of a should-be-menace, Blackwood, and McAdams, who was cast for all the wrong reasons) itâ€™s one of the funniest and most entertaining films of the year. Bring on the sequel! (which Brad Pitt is rumoured to be playing Moriarty in!).
Get A Clue! Check out one of the best films of the year!
4 and a half stars from me, kids!