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‎2hr 14min‎

Director:- GUY RITCHIE

Any filmic adaptation of a famous, mythical, literary character is fraught with danger due to expectations of fans and critics alike. Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes should alleviate most of these worries although it is still a distinctive offering from this recognised British director. His most critically and commercially successful films are his cockney gangster flicks (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch, RocknRolla) while his ex-wife, Madonna-centric Swept Away should be ignored as an aberration, as it was by the five people who actually saw it.

This is a rollicking and entertaining film that, while identifiably a Ritchie offering, does not need any knowledge of his previous works, nor his unique directorial style. His masterful use of time and space are evident in several scenes featuring not only dropped frame rates to enhance super-fast action sequences but also ultra slow motion shots enhance the dramatic tension and effects of his slightly restrained use of violence. Another Ritchie trait of splintered, intertwined narrative strands is not quite as blatant, and ultimately amusing, as his best efforts, but subtly assists the audience to piece together the potentially confusing storyline. This is nothing to worry about as it all is quite clearly explained towards the end.  

Robert Downey Jr. is excellent as a charismatic, intelligent, vulnerable, almost neurotic Holmes but his calculated strength removes his version from more conventional depictions of this famous detective. It is the super-heroics of Sherlock that carries the film though, and the set pieces that Ritchie has constructed are something to behold and appreciate. Jude Law also deserves kudos for his Dr. Watson who is a much stronger character than tradition suggests but ultimately plays second fiddle to Downey Jr. who delivers his best performance in memory.

This is easily the biggest budget Ritchie has had to work with and it shows. His manipulation of mise-en-scene is almost perfect and the set design is reminiscent of a more serious, yet boring depiction of industrial revolution London. At its core it is quite a dark tale, yet there are plenty of light-hearted moments to keep a mainstream audience engaged. Conversely, without the more sinister scenes and themes, this could become a flippant piece of forgettable fluff. It is a credit to Ritchie, as he continues to forge his own identifiable style, that he is able to balance this light and shade and deliver a film that is not only worth recommending but warrants a sequel that fans will be salivating over.

 4 stars.

By Toby McCarthy           






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