Sherlock Holmes (2009)
Reviewed on 2010 July 3
Entertaining, sepia-washed Victorian yarn that mixes old-fashioned sleuthing, science, and the supernatural.
A sprinting Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) races to a scene one would never expect to find in the stolid England of the late 1800s: a hooded figure conducting a black magic ritual. The man, Lord Henry Blackwood (Mark Strong), is imposing enough in life, but at his trial for black magic, murder, and general scumbaggery, he’s unperturbed by his death sentence. He promises to come back from the grave and cause more mayhem, and it looks like he’ll keep his word, unless Holmes and Watson (Jude Law) can stop him.
This was one of those love-it-or-hate-it things, and I quite liked it, despite the fact that it took me a bit of time to warm up to the Irene Adler character. I think the people who didn’t care for it weren’t used to seeing a scruffy-looking Holmes, and I admit when I think of the man my first mental image is Jeremy Brett, who in his portrayal of the man for A&E looked like he should have a sparkly Castille soap cloud twinkling around him. I wasn’t used to seeing him as a bare-knuckle fighter either, having only read “A Scandal In Bohemia” and “The Red-Headed League”, but the other half assured me that yes, he was. I also got a kick out of seeing a smart Watson squabbling with Holmes for a change. That deviated from Doyle’s work but it was still funny and well-done.
Three chocolate morsels. Way more clever than a lot of stuff Hollywood is churning out.