Sherlock Holmes (2010)
I went to see this film today with very low expectations. I expected it to be quite poor. Partly because of Guy Ritchie’s recent bad form and partly because I often dislike a ‘modern take on a classic’. On the contrary, I was thoroughly entertained.
The film bursts into life with a very Ritchie style violent opening (cue my normal moan about the 12A cert being inappropriate). This is great though, it leaves you under no illusions: making it very clear the kind of Holmes this is going to be.
Downey Jr plays a Holmes who is nothing like the Holmes of my own imagination. He’s more an amalgam of Bond and the Doctor. Jude Law plays the sidekick Dr Watson, a dead-pan realist who’s trying to move out and settle down with his fiance. This creates a good tension between the two friends and colleagues and there are some very funny scenes involving their bulldog Gladstone.
A great quality of the film is the humour that is prevalent throughout. This is dead-pan, the actors rarely raise a smile but the audience were regularly laughing out loud. At the same time, the film never takes itself too seriously, it’s knowingly camp.
What is taken seriously, though, are the production values, sets and costumes. Late Victorian London looks incredible and convincing. Dirty, crowded and evidence of an empire on the rise with building sites everywhere. I gasped when I saw a half finished Tower Bridge – which ultimately forms a great action scene later in the film. And some of Jude Law’s suits are to die for!
It’s a rip-roaring story, with shades of Dan Brown-style conspiracy theories, great action sequences, a fun bit of love interest and a baddie who reminded me quite a lot of Derren Brown(!)
I think this film has learnt something from recent TV shows such as Merlin, Heroes and Doctor Who. It shares something of the knowing playfulness of these series coupled with very high production values. It would make a brilliant TV series actually – I wonder if they’ve considered that?
This film is pure entertainment, perfect to go and see in this gloomy month. Ritchie is back on form!