Monday, December 28, 2009

Sherlock Holmes

Saturday night, after a lovely sushi dinner, a group of nine of us trundled off to see Guy Ritchie's take on Sherlock Holmes. I liked it a great deal, but I didn't love it, probably in part because my expectations were so very high that the film had very little chance of meeting them.

First, a quick run-down of some of the many strong points. London looked amazing, with every set and CGI'd backdrop quite splendidly grimy and yet still lovely and impressive. Both Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law were excellent, infusing their characters with depth and enough craziness and affection for one another to make them consistently interesting. Downey did an especially good job of showing us the madness and loneliness and overwhelming boredom that so plagued Holmes. The story functioned as it should, taking us to the mystic side and then ultimately, in proper Holmesian fashion, showing us the rational world behind the mystery. Guy Ritchie's typical odd cuts worked well, as did the occasional dive into Holmes' mind as he analyzed and visualized a sequence of actions before beginning it.

The main weakness, at least to my taste, is that Ritchie pushed the superhero angle too far--a complaint I did not expect to make. Though I'm a big fan of this side of the consulting detective, I also see Holmes as not quite the super-fighter and action hero that Ritchie portrayed here.

Still, that is a quibble about a delightful film that I quite enjoyed and that I encourage you to see.


Elizabeth said...

I saw the film last night and agree with your assessment. But the thing that stuck out most for me was Holmes' office. Boy, that looked familiar. Like maybe they started with a certain person's office as a prototype and then added rotting food and grime. When he said everything was in its proper place - hmmmm. Maybe he needs to hire some lovely assistants to help him get more organized. :-)

Mark said...

I would never leave food in my office.

Ticia said...

I only disagree with you about one thing. I loved the physicality of Holmes.
I get so tired of movies portraying cerebral characters as soft and weak,
having to rely on their brains to get out of sticky situations. Why can't
Holmes be both?

This is a character who routinely explored the seedier side of Victorian
London. In my imagination, he can take care of himself. I loved how Ritchie
took us through Holmes' thought process during some of these fights. You can "see" how his brain calculates his opponents weaknesses and utilizes this information to his advantage. So, ultimately, it's his brains, not his brawn that wins the day.

Alright, yes, I'm willing to admit that seeing Robert Downey, Jr. without his shirt on may be influencing my opinion a tad.

Mark said...

Please don't get me wrong: I also liked Holmes' physicality. I just thought Ritchie went a bit too far.

Elizabeth said...

Yes, I did not mean to imply that your office is the filthy pig sty that Holmes' office is. Your office is not dirty, but merely cluttered and seems disorganized to anyone who is not you. Thus it could have been used as a starting point for his office - all of the grunge, muck and rot added AFTER that starting point. Mea culpa for seeming to imply that your office is not the clean, frequently vacuumed and dusted haven that it most certainly is. i'm sure within no time in 2010 we will have everything in its place and it will look as spic and span as the underlying shell indeed is. Really. ;-)

Mark said...

I was only teasing about the office. I often despair of it ever being in shape, but I will keep hoping we can get it there!


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