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Sherlock Holmes

There is no doubt Guy Ritchie has stamped his mark upon Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s iconic Sherlock Holmes. Ritchie’s now trademark temporal jumps, bare-knuckled fighting and fraternal banter is all well translated into late 19th Century London. Cobbled streets and carriages may have replaced Ritchie’s previous preoccupation with the modern gangster, but this slower pace […]
By Alice Tynan
December 23, 2009
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By Alice Tynan
December 23, 2009
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There is no doubt Guy Ritchie has stamped his mark upon Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's iconic Sherlock Holmes. Ritchie's now trademark temporal jumps, bare-knuckled fighting and fraternal banter is all well translated into late 19th Century London. Cobbled streets and carriages may have replaced Ritchie's previous preoccupation with the modern gangster, but this slower pace suits him well. Indeed the Holmes stories provide the filmmaker with the crime caper he is so fond of, but one pared back to a much simpler, linear and more accessible storyline.

And a familiar one at that; given the black magic plot, Sherlock Holmes borrows (or is that reclaims?) a lot from Harry Potter, even down to a wand, of sorts. This tale sees Holmes (Robert Downey Jnr.) and his exacerbated partner in solving crime Dr. Watson (Jude Law) packing up shop after solving their final case, only to find Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong) has cheated death to pursue his sinister, imperialistic plans. This revelation distracts Watson from his engagement to the spirited Mary (Kelly Reilly), while also bringing femme fatale Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams) back into Holmes' orbit. Convoluted powers of deduction, disguises and energetic fight scenes ensue.

Though the final act drags, some of the set pieces feel too contrived and Downey Jnr's precocious interpretation of the famed detective may well rankle purists, it's very hard not to enjoy spending time with Holmes and Watson. Downey Jnr. and Law revel in their roles as the bickering couple; theirs is a love far more compelling than their (underused) female partners, and it's an absolute delight to watch.

The film leaves the casebook wide open for a sequel featuring Holmes' arch nemesis Professor Moriarty (rumoured to be Brad Pitt), so one presumes Ritchie is just itching for the chance to delve back into the annals of Britain's greatest detective.

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