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Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

All my aimless thoughts, ideas, and ramblings, all packed into one site!

Sherlock Holmes (2009)


I never really imagined Sherlock Holmes as this type of dude.

Robert Downey Jr. stars as the legendary London sleuth Sherlock Holmes, joined by Jude Law as dear Dr. Watson, in this Guy Ritchie reinvention of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s oft-adapted detective series. Based on a comic book by producer Lionel Wigram, the story follows Holmes and Watson as they face off against the villainous Blackwood (Mark Strong). Rachel McAdams co-stars as quick-witted beauty Irene Adler.

So as soon as I found out that this film was going to be directed by one of my favorite’s, I was interested and curious at the same time. Why would this guy get stuck with this type of material, and would it work?

To answer the question, it’s a sort of yes and kind of no. Guy Ritchie’s pacing is quick and he does make the film a lot more fun that what I was expecting. There is a lot of action sequences that are nice, violent, and fun to watch. If the film just focused on his detective ways, it wouldn’t have been as exciting as seeing a kick-ass detective, breaking people’s jaws into two places. The way that the action works its way into the film doesn’t at all slow it down once.

The editing in the film is top notch as well. In between present moments of time are a plethora of moments involving Holmes recapping and analyzing how he should proceed in his actions. These scenes are beautifully executed and very well timed, allowing the viewers to really get inside of Holmes’ head more effectively than any bit of dialogue ever could. Although slow moving at first, the story builds to a climax that brings all questions full circle and opens up room for a sequel by introducing an element that any Holmes fan will notice was absent in throughout most of the film. I won’t spoil it here but, needless to say, I curiously await how well it shall be done in the sequel, should it come to fruition.

Now when I mean no, is that Ritchie’s style of story-telling does get a bit in the way. I felt that some stuff was put in the movie, just for comedic relief, and not necessarily for the story. I was kind of confused on how the case was actually getting solved by all the action, and at points I was even confused what were the results of the case.

Other of Ritchie’s trade marks, however work very well. The screenplay is rich with this sarcastic wit and humor that works very well throughout the whole movie. Some action scenes and others with the mystery involved were better with its light tone added with the humor. Also, the way Ritchie uses his way of telling these little clues work well, as you find out peace by peace the story.

Another problem I had with the film was the absence of any sense of color and the setting. I mean yeah the setting was good-looking, but it was just very grimy and very depressing. The story can be colorful at points, but there was never really any great blend of rich colors to stylize the movie more.

Probably the best element of the film is the acting by its two leads. Downey Jr. is great as the sarcastic and colorful Sherlock, and although sometimes the guy can be so goofy that we love him as a wonderful lead. But the duo of him and Jude Law is what makes it the best. Every time these two are on-screen it just feels like two comedians who have known each others their whole lives, and just continually riff on each other again and again. McAdams didn’t seem that strong in this film, and plenty of the lines she had just seemed very forced.

Consensus: Though Ritchie’s style doesn’t quite fit the original material, Sherlock Holmes is a fast-paced, action mystery, that has funny dialogue that gets even better with its performances from the leads.

8/10=Matinee!!

9 responses to “Sherlock Holmes (2009)

  1. tweb90 December 30, 2009 at 5:31 am

    im digging the review, loved the movie, prob woulda given it a 8.5 tho because it was 2 hours n 15 mins but didnt feel like it cuz it had u hooked the whole time, also the different between the movie n original material is what makes it a good cinema production, the action and fights – thats all in my opinion of course, keep the reviews coming bro

  2. Mad Hatter January 14, 2010 at 4:09 am

    Nifty review!

    Finally got to see this last week, and while I too dug it…I seemed to see it differently than you did. I liked the griminess of London and the way it was presented in browns and greys. it all seemed quite suited to the time.

    What I missed, was Holmes, Watson and Adler having any little bit of fun. Those little throwaway moments of banter? Loved ‘em! But they felt too few and far between.

    Guess it’s something they can fix before the sequel, right? In case you’re curious, here’s my review:

    http://mcneilmatinee.blogspot.com/2010/01/review-sherlock-holmes.html

  3. Castor January 19, 2010 at 4:58 am

    Agree with Mad here, the movie felt slower when Holmes was all by himself, which was way too often. As for Rachel McAdams, she doesn’t get much of anything to do or say the entire movie and was completely wasted in the movie.

  4. Alina GoodOldParanoia September 6, 2010 at 11:12 pm

    I agree with Castor when he says Rachel McAdams was sort of wasted in this movie and I love your review! You’re completely right when you say that Guy Ritchie’s style of story-telling sometimes gets in the way… He needs his comic relief and his tons of action but all in all Sherlock Holmes was very entertaining.

  5. Ty February 1, 2011 at 5:59 pm

    I enjoyed the movie but they didn’t need to explain EVERYTHING. (Spoiler Alert) Holmes actually talked Lord Blackwood to death! haha.

  6. the Ink Slinger September 14, 2011 at 4:41 pm

    I loved this one, and I’m one of A.C. Doyle’s biggest fans. :) The people who slam this film and say it’s not true to the source material are typically ones who are getting their “Sherlock” image from the horrendous Basil Rathbone TV series that ran in the 40s. Ugh. :)

    Great review. And yeah, the action scenes were awesome.

  7. T0mo October 18, 2011 at 10:46 am

    really enjoyed these Films for what they were and the surprise that a Guy Ritchie film could actually be good but it think that has more to do with Robert Downie Jr and Jude Law but unfortunatly. Holmes for me will always be the late great Jeremy Brett.

  8. itsjosiahdavid November 7, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    Dude I lie to you not as I was reading this I was trying to think of things I didn’t like about the movie and then I thought of the end when the sky was really gray and clearly blue-screen/Green-screen. I thought the movie tone was dreary. and then you pointed it out hahaha! Also McAdams wasn’t as awesome as I thought she should be. I regret I’ve never sat down and read Holmes but I hear her character proceeds her. She’s supposed to be Holmes’ equal but she’s kinda light on the feme fatale servings. Didn’t meant to compare her to food, sorry. But I sure loved the styling and editting in the action sequences myself and I can’t wait for Game of Shadows!

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