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Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

May 19, 2013

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011)
Director: Guy Ritchie
Actors: Robert Downey Jr, Jude Law, Noomi Rapace

Sherlock Holmes 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis: Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey Jr) and Dr Watson (Jude Law) investigate a series of bombings around Europe, and their suspicion falls on arch-criminal, Professor Moriarty (Jared Harris).

Review: I must confess to Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes diptych being a real guilty pleasure for me. I fully accept that Ritchie is bending the material far too much to his own geezerish, tricksy ways, especially as the second half of the movie is essentially one long conveyor belt of barnstorming, ‘look at me’ action set pieces. One could also argue that the bullet-time/Holmes-sleuthing technique, ingeniously realised in the first movie, is overused here – but therein lies Ritchie’s charm, because he manages to play that overuse for laughs, finishing on a scene where Holmes and Moriarty continually out-think each other in their pre-musings over the other’s moves, before – in the end – Holmes simply charges into Moriarty, throwing them both off the balcony.

The irreverent bawdiness of the film is its greatest strength. Robert Downey’s zany, cross-dressing performance shouldn’t be as funny as it is, and I’m growing increasingly fond of Jude Law. What I finally realise about Law is that he’s been a stellar character actor in denial all along. It’s what I liked so much about his The Talented Mr Ripley breakthrough performance, and his more recent, unvain turns in Anna Karenina and this Sherlock series. He was far less suited to the conventional, earnest romantic lead that Anthony Minghella tried to turn mould him into in the turgid Cold Mountain and Breaking and Entering. It’s also lovely to see Stephen Fry, and his arch Blackadder-style turn – “I can’t tell you which two countries I refer to, except they speak French and German” – summates all that’s enjoyable about this relaxed, light-hearted romp. (May 2013)

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