December 31, 2009 Sherlock Holmes
Studio: Warner Bros. Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some startling images and a scene of suggestive material.
There have been many, many different interpretations of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's most famous creation.
But it's safe to say that none are like the latest version.
Robert Downey, Jr. stars as the title character in "Sherlock Holmes." He and his partner Dr. John Watson (Jude Law) are on the trail of a serial killer who uses the black arts to achieve his goals of murder and mayhem.
They eventually manage to capture the infamous Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong). But the villain has a final request before he hangs. He wants a jailhouse meeting with Holmes.
Following their talk, Blackwood goes to the gallows and his story seems to be at an end.
But soon Holmes and Watson receive news they aren't expecting. Blackwood has apparently returned from the grave. Now the duo must find the resurrected murderer and stop him before his plot to take over England, and eventually the world, can succeed.
Guy Ritchie directs and displays his very unique style from the beginning. His London is gray and grimy but it is also filled with movement and action.
And I love how he shows Holmes at work. His method of deduction, the ability to see the smallest detail, is explained so well that you believe this man can solve the most complicated riddles with ease.
Downey absolutely nails his role. Holmes is shown as an eccentric with very little use for day to day life. He lives to tackle mysteries and if his mind isn't occupied it wanders into dangerous and self-destructive places.
On the other side of the coin, Law's Watson is not some bumbling sidekick. He is Holmes' equal. The two share an interesting love/hate relationship but they deliver their lines with such conviction that they really do feel like old friends.
Rachel McAdams is the film's leading lady. She plays Irene Adler, the only woman Holmes was ever truly interested in. And Strong manages a menacing performance as the villain without going too far over the top.
The game is certainly afoot with Holmes pushed into the realm of the supernatural. Does he succeed in vanquishing his foe? Does good rule the day over evil? Why, it's elementary my friend. But you'll enjoy seeing how he accomplishes the feat.
On my rating scale, "Sherlock Holmes" earns a HOME RUN.
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