After seeing Robert Downey’s Jr’s (RDJ) comeback in Iron Man and Tropic Thunder, it comes as no surprise that Sherlock Holmes did well in the theaters. Besides his good bad boy looks and the way he’s so direct, RDJ plays his characters well. But isn’t that why they pay actors? To play good parts in movies.
Sherlock Holmes, directed by Guy Ritchie, is a film that transports the audience back to the Victorian Times where Sherlock Holmes is the man the police love to hate. Before I begin discussing this film, I must say I have never read any of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s books so I just took it as it was, a movie. If you ask my sister, an avid reader of the Holmes books, she will probably say Ritchie didn’t do a bad job.
The plot is a fun mystery that the auience can see how Holmes works as an eccentric scientist/professor/musician along side with his best friend and almost brother, John Watson played by Jude Law. I likened the plot to the movies “The Illusionist” and “The Prestige” The mystery does get solved by Holmes stating it matter of factly. Richie does a lot of flashbacks of previous events to link it together with Holmes words.
The connection between Watson and Holmes has been likened by RDJ himself as homoerotic. I believe he got in trouble for trying to promote that message, but that’s why we love him. During the film, I likened it to a Bromance. They are just very good friends who have each others backs. The squabbles between the two of them helped make the film what is was. Ex: “Get that out of my face.” “It’s not in your face, it’s in my hand.” Holmes and Watson are very protective of one another, for instance when Holmes protects Watson’s reputation as a doctor and vice versa. They just make a good team and RDJ and Law have done their jobs as actors very well.
Now the lovely Rachel McAdams also did her job of becoming the girl that the audience loves to hate, hates to love. She looked fabulous in her wardrobe and was probably the only one who had a hint of color in her outfits. She was the lover that Holmes couldn’t keep away from, but she was also the best in her business, a hired killer. Their relationship kinda reminded me of “Mr. and Mrs. Smith.” The chemistry between the two I thought was quite fantastic. She liked to trick him, but he liked to trick back. Deep down they cared for each other too much to rat one another out.
One of my favorite moments in the movie was RDJ sitting in the chair in front of a wall, trying to figure out the mystery, that had words written all of them. Maybe it was the stark contrast between the white of the wall and the black writing. Whatever it was, I was a fan of it. My other favorite scene was the fire explosion. I won’t got into details so I don’t spoil anything, but I thought the sound design was fantastic. The sound slowed down and was even muted at one point and then sped up, when Holmes caught his breath. Really catching to the eyes and ears.
The color choices in costume, scenery, art direction,etc had a good theme going. No bright colors. Very dreary greys, browns and whites. It expressed the time period very nicely. Even McAdams’ costumes were in color, but were in dark shades so as not to stand out that much.
The one thing that did bother me was the newspapers. I don’t know why, but it looked like computer paper it was printed on. C’mon Guy Ritchie get some worn looking papers to look old fashion newspapery to me.
Out of the two Oscar nominations it has received, I was very happy to see that one of them was for musical score composed by Hans Zimmer. Now Hans Zimmer’s recent projects have included composing Pirates of the Caribbean 2 & 3, It’s Complicated and the Holiday. If you have listened to the POTC 2 & 3, you might have heard a familiar sound like in “Jack Sparrow”. Other than that the music became it’s own. Zimmer seem to use to his advantage that the Holmes played violin and used a majority of strings in his score. No complaints as I was a former violinist. The whole sound being very Irishy was also wonderful sounding. It was just a good score. Well done Zimmer.
Overall, Sherlock Holmes brought the adventure, the RDJ, and just good time fun.
1. Best Achievement in Art Direction: Sarah Greenwood and Katie Spencer
2. Best Achievement in Music: Hans Zimmer