Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Sherlock Holmes

Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes is bloated, tedious, unendearing. I've boycotted Ritchie's movies up to now, but, as a great lover of the Basil Rathbone Holmes films of the 1940s, I was curious to see what the director would do with the material. Well, what Ritchie and his screenwriters have done is to turn Holmes into a run-of-the-mill action extravganza, a Die Hard-y romp featuring explosions, protracted fight scenes (including a very odd bare-knuckle boxing sequence) and weak buddy-buddy quips. (It comes as no surprise to find Joel Silver credited amongst the film's producers.) The violence - and there's quite a lot of it for a 12A certificate - comes super-stylised, speeded-up and slowed-down. What Ritchie's "style" doesn't seem to encompass, unfortunately, is any charm, lightness, or wit. The world-domination plot (masterminded by Mark Strong's Lord Blackwood - the hair-piece does much of the work here) is terribly vague, there's little delight in piecing the mysteries together, and, worst of all, this Holmes and Watson (Robert Downey Jnr and Jude Law) do not prove an appealing team. Trying for eccentricity, a weary-looking Downey Jnr comes off as merely odd; Law (after his inventive, compelling performances this year on stage in Hamlet and on film in Rage) is blandness itself. The actors who don't look ill (Rachel McAdams seems particularly pallid as Irene Adler, Holmes's nemesis/paramour) look ill-at-ease, with the exception of James Fox, who brings a bit of authority and comic style to his all-too-brief appearance as Blackwood's father. There are a couple of incidental (unintentional) pleasures: I particularly enjoyed Downey Jnr's slippery diction on his English accent: he makes the line "You're in over your head, Irene" sound like "Urine over your head Irene" while "You is us" becomes "You is arse." But in the time it takes this movie to clunk to its blatantly franchise-heralding conclusion you could have watched two of the Rathbone films - and had a much better time doing so. This one's shit, Sherlock.

1 comment:

  1. I wouldn't waste my time paying for a ticket!......overblown and dreadful!
    will check out Grey Gardens!thanks