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Saturday, January 2, 2010

Sherlock Holmes: An Elementary Review

I find myself torn by my normal desire to tear through a film like the toilet paper it might have been or praising it for the simple fact that Robert Downey Jr was his usual brilliant self as he expertly portrayed someone else - in this case the famous detective, Sherlock Holmes.

In fact Robert Downey Jr is one of the only reasons I consider the acting profession a real art form, because he does it so well, and after seeing him in this role of the clever detective I've also come to the conclusion that he just might be the only American capable of one day playing the role of Doctor Who, if only the producers of my favourite science fantasy would cast but a glance in his direction.

Jude Law is ok as Doctor Watson but always under the bright shadow of the better actor of the two. Jude has slain his thousands but Robert his tens of thousands so to speak.

Anyway, the story is obviously a prequel of sorts, or rather a set up for a bigger production soon to come, although I haven't checked elsewhere on the net to find out, but one doesn't need to be a detective to spot the hints and clues that this plot was the foundation for more big bucks to be made in the future. The two detectives are on their last case together, a fact that Holmes is finding hard to come to grips with as is seen later as he subtly undermines Watson's efforts to leave 221 b Baker's St to join in Holy Matrimony to a young Governess in pursuit of a less exciting life... But back to the scene of the crime where a bunch of dark robed devil worshippers are performing a sacred ritual on a poor young woman who holds a knife in her hand ready to sacrifice herself but is saved by Holmes just in the nick of time! (Who is the Nick of time anyway?)

The leader of the cult is one Lord Blackwood who is tried and hung for his misdeeds only to be resurrected again 3 days later - all by himself. And the game is well and truly afoot! Holmes and a very reluctant Watson must uncover a plot so thick with intrigue you could lather a Chelsea Bun with it, the way Auntie Marge used to with thick chunky butter, leaving you wondering where the bun begins and the butter ends...

There's some explosions, some questionable science and some weird love interest with that girl from the Notebook whose name I can't remember right now. But the brilliance of it all is in the fact that in the very far far back background there is Professor Moriarty, whose face you never do see, manipulating events and pulling strings, not attached to the main story at all but cleverly preparing something dastardly for the next movie.

I love when you never see the bad guy, it just makes him a hundred times more eviler than the guy you actually see, like Sauron from the Lord of the Rings and all you see is this great big flaming eye on top of a dark tower; in this film Moriarty is the elusive black figure hiding in the shadows with a neat party pistol he hides up his sleeve...

The movie also comes complete with some dead frogs, pigs and a man who is murdered in a bath tub - everything you want to see on a Saturday night when there is nothing better to do.

It was interesting that the Villain, Lord Blackwood, had a moment where he quoted Revelations 13:4 and then rose again on the third day to set in motion his plan for world domination as if he were the anti-Christ. The reason I find this interesting is sometimes, occasionally you see in movies or stories an unconscious understanding of real Biblical truth - that one day there will be an Anti Christ who will seize the reigns of society with clever tricks and loyal followers, but alas there will be no Sherlock Holmes to rescue us. Though seriously, not to go too deeply into it, its like the god/man myths of the ancient world where a man who is half god dies and goes to Hades only to ascend later into Olympus as if they knew, maybe on a spiritual level, that one day in real history God himself would become a man, die and ascend into heaven... maybe I got bored and read a bit too much into it?

I certainly ate a lot of popcorn and drank most of my mother's coke. Naughty me I hear my teeth chide.

Despite the occult imagery you can rest assured that this is not a horror flick and I wouldn't worry too much about the undertones of witchery because at the end of the day, in true scooby doo like fashion, Sherlock unravels everything and exposes the supernatural activity as simple fraud and slight of hand, and maybe feet as well.

I would give this film a 4 out of 10 for plot and originality, sorry it just wasn't clever enough and didn't capture my interlect more than it caught my eye for good old fashioned clothing and wondering how they made London look so old and muddy again. (and yes, I know I miss spelt intellect)

But for fun it deserves a 7, that is if you go to the movies for fun that is.

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed your assessment! I am inclined to agree with both of your ratings, though I may give 'fun' an 8.5.... Downey was wonderful.

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