johnlink re-ranks SHERLOCK HOLMES (2009)

The nature of this blog has me usually watching movies which, while perhaps not new to me, are new to the blog. However, this being my fifth year in, I think it is reasonable to assume that noone is going back and looking at my 2009 posts (and if you are… I do speaking engagements for a mere $10,000 a night). Despite this, I often find myself un-choosing a movie I might watch because I saw it years ago and how could I possibly repeat myself. Well, sure, yeah… I’m a nutjob. But every so often something happens (like needing to see a sequel but wanting to watch the first one again) which leads me to revisit a movie I’ve already discussed. I should be doing this more. Anyway, on with SHERLOCK HOLMES…

I watched SHERLOCK HOLMES (2009) on 6.30.13. It was my second viewing of the film, and first since it hit theaters. My original thoughts can be found here. But I am not reading them myself until after I write this. Hopefully I don’t repeat myself (likely) or sound like an idiot (highly likely).

Reality in the aesthetic and storytelling aspects of a film can be a tough thing to measure. We all want, expect, and perceive different levels of reality within a movie. What works for one, doesn’t work for another. What satisfies me may be too much to bear for you.

In SHERLOCK HOLMES the lines of reality and believability are constantly in question. For my tastes, the CGI is a little too present. I love the FEEL of London in the 1890s, and I love the visual tones which are presented. I just wish more of it was real. I wish I wasn’t being whipped around by a cameraman only to realize that the only real thing we are seeing is the actor. The interiors in SHERLOCK HOLMES are beautiful and I wish more of it was inside just so more of it would feel real.

What Sherlock can deduce and know is also in question. He is nearly omniscient. This is used to wonderful effect in the fight scenes, but nearly becomes tired in the climax when you realize that every shot which lingered on an object for more than two seconds is going to be part of the reveal. It is one thing to do this in a book when said item is described and it is up to the reader to either know, or not know what that thing will mean to the case. It is another matter when a small leafy plant is shown and Sherlock knows where this plant came from and what it is called and what it is used for, but then he doesn’t tell us to the climax.

This doesn’t bother me greatly, other than to say that I wish more was revealed as we went along. This is a Sherlock Holmes movie after all, we know the revelations will be based in science and the real world no matter how crazy they may seem as they happen. The film bucks some of the trends of the Holmes cliches by making him an action hero and not majorly flawed. I wish they had pushed the envelope marked ‘plot points’ a little further as well.

All that said, this is a performance based movie. Robert Downey Jr. is exquisite as Holmes, and Jude Law may be even better as Watson. The dialogue and acting make us feel like they have been together forever. Watson is not in awe of Holmes skill, but is rather a man frustrated that he refuses to maximize his skill for good. This Holmes could be diagnosed, in the modern world, as a social delinquent with severe ADHD and a drug problem. He is successful in spite of who he is as much as he is successful because of who he is.

The side characters are less memorable, even if Rachel McAdams and Mark Strong play well the heroine and the villain, respectively. Unfortunately for their characters, they are there merely to serve as catalysts to make Holmes and Watson care. McAdams’ Irene is the love who spurned Holmes, and Strong’s Lord Blackwood is the wizard who has called into question Watson’s ability as a physician. With the shadow of Moriarty hanging over the proceedings, we know Blackwood is merely a pawn in this game anyway.

This is a very enjoyable movie, if not perfect. I’m looking forward to finally getting at the sequel to see whether they improved the flaws or merely extended them.



I found myself really enjoying the score by Hans Zimmer. His motif for Sherlock is instantly recognizable, and the way he subverts it throughout the movie is inspired.



~ by johnlink00 on July 1, 2013.

One Response to “johnlink re-ranks SHERLOCK HOLMES (2009)”

  1. Nicely done – I quite like both of these flicks : )

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