Sherlock Holmes (12A)



Action (2009)
128mins UK/Australia/US

Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Jude Law, Rachel McAdams, Mark Strong, Kelly Reilly, Eddie Marsan, James Fox, Hans Matheson, William Hope, Bronagh Gallagher, Geraldine James
Director: Guy Ritchie
Writer(s): Mike Johnson, Anthony Peckham, Simon Kinberg
Listings: London | Rest of UK and Ireland

Private detective Sherlock Holmes faces a dangerous new adversary, Blackwood, who appears to cheat death. Aided by war veteran and doctor, Watson, with whom he shares a tempestuous relationship, Holmes investigates claims that Blackwood has risen from the grave. Meanwhile, Irene Adler, the only woman ever to outsmart Sherlock, continues to vex and frustrate him.

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LondonNet Film Review
Sherlock Holmes

Guy Ritchie's reinvention of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's legendary sleuth should have been a dream new beginning for the director...

JUDE LAW as Watson and ROBERT DOWNEY JR. as Sherlock Holmes in Warner Bros. Pictures and Village Roadshow Pictures Sherlock Holmes. Photo by Alex Bailey. © 2008 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.Starting his career in 1998 with the almighty bang of Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels, the Hertfordshire-born film-maker has spent most of the past decade in the shadow of then-wife Madonna. Ritchie's emasculation coincided with a steady decline in fortunes behind the camera. With a wedding band on his finger, he masterminded some appalling crimes (Swept Away, Revolver) that should have been punishable with an enforced leave of absence from the director's chair. Sherlock Holmes is the first project since his high-profile divorce and also his most expensive picture to date. Nothing warms the cockles of the heart like a comeback, and there would be a wonderful sense of validation if Ritchie could return to glorious form at the very moment the knives are out for him. Sadly, our cockles will only be lukewarm by the end of this big-budget caper rooted in late 19th-century London. The film has style in abundance and action set-pieces are well choreographed, including a protracted fight in a shipyard. Yet for all the attention to detail, this incarnation of Sherlock Holmes isn't fully formed, with undernourished female characters and a faux supernatural plot that could easily be trimmed by half an hour.

Holmes (Robert Downey Jr) and his trusty sidekick Watson (Jude Law) race to the scene of a ritualistic killing, just in time to stop Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong) sacrificing his latest victim. Incarcerated in a police cell before his execution, Blackwood torments Scotland Yard Inspector Lestrade (Eddie Marsan) and his men, spreading fear among the ranks. When he finally reaches the gallows, the accused is unrepentant, vowing that "death is only the beginning" before he falls to his doom, the noose tight around his neck. Soon after, news reaches Holmes that the deceased has apparently risen from the grave to continue his reign of terror. Meanwhile, Irene (Rachel McAdams), the only woman ever to outsmart Sherlock, continues to vex him - and Watson prepares to move out of 221B Baker Street with sweetheart Mary (Kelly Reilly).

ROBERT DOWNEY JR. as Sherlock Holmes and RACHEL McADAMS as Irene Adler in Warner Bros. Pictures and Village Roadshow Pictures Sherlock Holmes, distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. Photo by Alex Bailey © 2008 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.Sherlock Holmes is an entertaining romp, enlivened by banter between a suitably quixotic Downey Jr and strait-laced Law. "No woman wants to marry a doctor who can't tell if a man is dead or not," smirks Sherlock, goading his assistant, who wrongly declared Blackwood dead. McAdams has nothing to do apart from find herself in peril, while Strong bristles with diabolical intent. The script introduces the shadowy figure of Moriarty late into proceedings, to sow the seeds for a sequel. "Please don't underestimate him," pleads Irene. "He's just as brilliant as you and infinitely more devious." And not played by Brad Pitt, as the gossipmongers wanted us to believe.

- Kim Hu


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