Sherlock Holmes (2009)

Guy Ritchie directs Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law and Rachel McAdams in this action comedy where the Victorian supersleuth of literary canon goes all Lethal Weapon.

Guy Ritchie’s first film as a studio gun-for-hire. He seemingly has spent the second half of his career reimagining dusty properties and mangling them into his house style when possible. A bit like Tim Burton in many respects. His strength for deep drill ensemble work and bramble bush plotting survives here. It is a cheeky romp that suffers a few too many baggy scenes and constantly strives for a madcap “What Next?!” energy it never quite achieves. The non Conan Doyle sanctioned combat looks pulse-raising in a teaser trailer but leaves you just a little underwhelmed on your sofa. Downey Jnr. Holmes is ripped and roaring… Riggs to Jude Law’s Murtaugh. It isn’t a bad dynamic to update the classic pairing with but the sleuthing often seems an afterthought. If vague references to martial arts, cocaine and disguises can be dragged to the forefront, they are left there in place of Holmes outwitting a mystery through rigorous deduction. Hans Zimmer score is persuasively delinquent. Ajay Roy and Katie Spencer art direction quite deservedly was nominated for an Oscar. This is a handsome full tilt production, a fantasy ye olde ‘Lahndan’ to get lost in; whether chasing through the alleyways of Farringdon or duelling it out on the scaffolding of a half constructed Tower Bridge. There’s enough vim and spit to brush over the glaring flaws.


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