Sunday 10 January 2010

Sherlock Holmes...

It took me a while to get interested in this movie. Upon initially hearing about it, I wasn't especially fussed, and indeed early trailers didn't do an awful lot for me - I was even getting a bit sick of them, particularly that clip with RDJ naked and handcuffed on the bed with only a pillow to provide him modesty, which you ended up seeing all the time.

Then I saw another trailer soon before its release, and I suddenly found myself sold on the whole film and was rather interested to see it. RDJ's career resurgence of recent years is one big reason to see this movie (he's on top form), but it's also good to see Guy Ritchie getting away from most of what he's commonly known for. It's good to see him doing something a bit different, and a lot bigger.

Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels is a modern British lark about classic, although on the downside it did inspire a endless slew of impersonators and shaded the entire British film industry for years to follow. Snatch was then just the same movie again, and while I certainly did enjoy it, it's not really anything important to chew on. I never saw Swept Away or whatever it was called that he did with ex-wife Madonna, but you only hear bad things about it, so let's move on.

Revolver was full of style, but was so over-engineered and ever-so pretentious that it never really gelled. I've seen it once and I've never been back, it just kind of faded away into the ether of 2005. Then we have Rocknrolla, which was a return to his Lock Stock days in a way, and was a good bit of fun - but it didn't push Ritchie in any new directions, and didn't provide us as viewers with anything we hadn't seen before.

Thankfully, Ritchie has really taken a big old step forward with Sherlock Holmes, which is bloody good fun throughout (despite the odd bit of flab here and there where it occasionally gets a bit wobbly). I can't claim any real prior knowledge of the characters or stories as I've never read any of them or seen any of the adaptations, so I was - beyond knowing of the duo themselves - a complete novice.

As such, Ritchie's film works very well. You feel like you've known these characters for much longer than you really have, and the central relationship itself is the biggest draw of the film. We enjoy being in the company of this duo, and it's fun to see them play off each other like a bickering old married couple at times, while knowing full well that they're a side each of the same coin.

The other big draw for me was all the detective stuff - it's fascinating - seeing Holmes work his magic, revealing all the secrets and details we all missed. Great fun indeed.

It's a film that barrels along at a fair lick, and never really lets you drift away (although there are times in the second act that you do begin to drift a little, before being pulled back in), so all said and done, it's Guy Ritchie's best film since Lock Stock, and actually his best film to date. Here's hoping that there's not only more of this incarnation of Holmes, but more of Ritchie heading in this direction.

And I didn't even make one single "elementary" pun.

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