When I first heard that Guy Ritchie was going to do a Holmes movie and that the consulting tec was to be played by Robert Downey Jr, my immediate reaction was a kind of boggle-eyed ‘nnnNaah!’ Then I caught the early trailer, and a puzzled frown creased my authorly brow while the words ‘what da heck?…’ were heard to escape my lips. My ingrained culture-object scanner began producing signs of hopeful interest, while giving me flashbacks to the Van Helsing movie (with Hugh Jackman) which was a gloriously romptastic outing. Could this addition to the litany of Holmes actually be worth seeing, ie actually worth paying for?
The answer is a resounding yes. I’ve seen some of Guy Ritchie’s previous gang-lad-heist-geezer flicks and like some of them so I was curious as to how his cinematographic palette would transfer to a period like late-1800’s London.
Fabulously, as it turned out. I have to say that I loved this movie – Robert Downey gave a convincingly eccentric performance as SH, while Jude Law as Dr John Watson was just great. Now yes, I know that this is a million miles from the austere erudition of previous incarnations, but this was done with such bravura invention and delight that it grabbed me from the start. The flavour, the grimy grittiness of the period came over as exactly right, while the narrative held the attention through the hot pace of the central story and the side issues between Holmes and Watson, and Holmes and Irene Adler. Also, Ritchie employed some timeline tricks – flash forwards and backwards! – which only added to the movie’s rivetting glamour.
You know that you’re onto a winner when you exit the theater simultaneously wishing you could watch it again and wishing you could see the next one. A sequel has been rumoured, to which I say, ‘Oh, yes, indeedy!’