“It does make a considerable difference to me having someone with me on whom I can thoroughly rely on,” quips Holmes, as he and his loyal friend Watson infiltrate the barren residence of a deceased alchemist.
They’re on the trail of Lord Blackwood, a murder obsessed with the occult, and a man that was pronounced dead but days ago. Yet, by some manner of trickery, he walks again. For these men of science and logic the situation is most irregular – though, highly intriguing, I’m sure.
Amid all this madness, controversy and university work I’ve still managed to find a spare moment to reenergise my creative mind at the pictures. And what could be more thrilling than an adventure story cum buddy flick mixed with more than hint of late 19th century splendour? Yes, the brand new 21st century version of Sherlock Holmes is a darn good thrill ride.
Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law have a strong chemistry that translates perfectly to their on-screen partnership of Holmes and Watson. Downey maintains a rigorous level of concentration and unapologetic acuteness throughout – a persona that seems very convincing for a mind as brilliant and easily bored as Holmes’. His somewhat larger-than-life English accent makes him all the more endearing too.
And Law makes a good straight man to Downey’s unintentional bungling. As you’d expected they’re friendship isn’t without complication and it is interesting to see the lengths they go to help one another, even if it never feels as if their friendship is truly in jeopardy, despite Watson’s engagement sub-plot trying to embed this.
Mark Strong also plays the sinister and deluded, Lord Blackwood, and to great effect I might add. Romance is introduced by Rachel McAdams masquerading as the lady-you’ll-regret-before-you-forget, Irene Adler. The film dispenses with a traditional lovey-dovey affair in favour of one which has more comedic and dramatic kick.
There’s plenty of sleuthing and trademark Holmes reasoning, which are explained in some brilliant fast-cut exposition scenes. The relationships feel genuine and even the secondary characters have one or two golden moments themselves. What’s more, the comedy has a way of creeping up on you when the action has already moved on, spurring you to laugh at some of its less overt wit. Its late 19th century setting is also wonderfully realised by Guy Ritchie and the production team.
In all, wonderful characterisation, a devilishly good plot and a half-finished Tower Bridge to top things off. I’d say that’s a winner, old man.
“Excellent deduction, Watson.”