“You have the grand gift of silence, Watson. It makes you quite invaluable as a companion.”
British director Guy Ritchie (Lock, Stock and Two Barrels, The Man From U.N.C.L.E.) adapts Arthur Conan Doyle’s novel characters, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, with star Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law respectively in this surprisingly satisfying action-filled mystery.
Filmmakers establish their relationship well while adding Rachel McAdams (The Time Traveler’s Wife, The Notebook) as Irene Adler and Mark Strong as Lord Blackwood. Eddie Marsan (Hancock, Happy-Go-Lucky) provides a strong supporting role as Inspector Lestrade. His motives and actions initially produce some suspicion, but his eventual emotional ebbs and curt, but sincere dialogue deliveries quickly raise the bar on the entire film. This East London native greatly contributes to the film’s authenticity and focus.
The famous character traits of the main players stay intact and even expand, especially Holmes’ fighting talents where he beats and discombobulates his opponents while audiences hear the thought process of each move through Downey’s voiceover.
The intelligence and devotion that Downey portrays in his work appeals in a genuine way while the situations grow in intensity as the mystery is close to being solved. These situations showcase some amazing action sequences that raise the entertainment level without jolting audiences out of the 1890s timeline. This film took a creative license and expanded action sequences that are only referenced to in Doyle’s novels.
Hans Zimmer’s Oscar-nominated original music score is pitch perfect and so is the set and art direction, which was also nominated. The reinvention of these familiar characters and settings is a great accomplishment. This movie reaches even higher by sustaining high entertainment for a surprising 2 hours and 10 minutes.
The Oscar-nominated art direction, costume design, and amazing cinematography from Philippe Rousselot (Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald), which incorporated high-speed digital cameras, also stand out as filmmakers succeed in capturing the Sherlock Holmes universe.
The Blu-ray combo package features a “maximum movie mode” including storyboard features, director walk-ons, picture-in-picture options, and timelines. This satisfying adaptation (***1/2 out of four stars) is rated PG-13 for thematic material including violence, disturbing images and a scene of suggestive material. An essential addition to your film library.
Copyright © Michael Siebenaler