Sherlock Holmes fans, be warned. This is not a “faithful” adaptation of any of the stories of the famous sleuth by Arthur Conan Doyle. It is, however, a celebration of the spirit of Sherlock Holmes and his unique but precise way of solving crime.
Guy Ricthie (Snatch, Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels) takes fiction’s most loved detective and his sidekick, Dr.Watson, and combines it with his own style of slam-bang film-making. The result is a 2-hour roller coaster ride that never loses steam.
The setting is turn of the 20th century London. Holmes (Robert Downey, Jr.) along with Watson (Jude Law) is hot on the trail of a murderer who has killed 5 people during the course of black magic rituals and is about to claim his next victim. The murderer as we come to know in the action packed first scene is a certain Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong, previously seen in Ritchie’s Rock-N-Rolla) who is a high ranking Member of Parliament and has been dabbling in the dark arts to gain power and control England and subsequently the world.
Hanged for his crimes, Lord Blackwood rises from the grave, literally. What follows is a cat and mouse game with Holmes trying to find answers about the Lord’s “resurrection” and stop him before his plans reach fruition while trying to find answers for his “black magic” which go against Holmes’ practical mind. There is also a sub-plot which features one of the best villains of the Holmes canon, who is in turn following both Blackwood and Holmes along with the grudging help of Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams), who as Sherlock fans know, is “the woman” as far as Holmes is concerned.
Robert Downey, Jr. as Holmes is superb, He may not be the best guy around to play the part but he brings his unique take to the character as he did with last year’s Iron Man. Credit also goes to Jude Law for holding his own as Watson.
Guy Ritchie does not follow the world of Holmes to a T but in his own way pays homage to it where no crime is beyond closure. His Holmes packs quite a punch, literally, with at least three fight sequences including a boxing match. Although Holmes does not get very physical in the books there is a mention about his boxing prowess by Watson in one of the stories. Other details from the stories like a passing reference to his brother Mycroft by Holmes or practising shooting in his apartment by puttin “VR” (Victoria Regina) on his wall with bullet holes, bring Baker Street and London to life in a way not seen before and also paves the way for a sequel.
We did not expect anything less than this from the director of Snatch and Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels. It was, as Holmes would have put it, elementary, my dear viewer.
Contributed by Runil Motwani