Sunday, 8 January 2012

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

Year:  2011
Director:  Guy Ritchie
Screenplay:  Kieran Mulroney and Michelle Mulroney, based on characters created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Starring:  Robert Downey, Jr., Jude Law, Noomi Rapace, Jared Harris, Stephen Fry, Kelly Reilly, Rachel McAdams
Running Time:  129 minutes
Genre:  Mystery, crime, adventure, period

This film is the sequel to the blockbuster 2009 film Sherlock Holmes.  The film is very loosely based on the legendary detective stories created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, most particularly the 1893 story The Final Problem.  However the plot of the film is by and large original.  In 1891, consulting detective Sherlock Holmes (Downey, Jr.) becomes convinced that a series of bombings in France and Germany are the work of criminal mastermind Professor Moriarty (Harris).  However, the difficulty is that there is no evidence to connect the respected professor to any wrongdoing.  After enlisting the aid of his recently engaged best friend, Doctor John Watson (Law), Holmes soon realises that he has put Watson, and his bride to be (Reilly), at risk of lethal retaliation from Moriarty's men.  With the help of Holmes' well-connected brother, Mycroft (Fry), and a tough gypsy woman, Simza (Rapace), whose brother is working with Moriarty, Holmes and Watson set off on a journey across Europe, on the trail of one of the world's most powerful and dangerous criminals.

This is a hugely entertaining mix of globe-trotting adventure, explosive action and humour.  Robert Downey, Jr. is perfectly cast as Holmes and Jude Law makes for an engaging Doctor Watson, and there is great banter and chemistry between the two leads, with Watson refreshingly being portrayed as more than a match for Holmes in many places.  It will doubtless infuriate Conan Doyle purists, but for anyone else it is a fun period adventure.  The action scenes are well handled and the film provides more than enough spectacle.  As Moriarty, Jared Harris makes for a great, slippery villain, and he shares a number of great scenes with Robert Downey, Jr..  Stephen Fry is entertainingly arch as Mycroft Holmes (the scene where he turns up in the nude and happily chats away to Kelly Reilly, oblivious to her shock, is a comedy highlight).  Noomi Rapace is also impressive, lending gravitas to a fairly underwritten role.  The movie lacks any real surprises, the suspense in the film coming not so much from discovering who the villain is, because it is made clear right from the outset, but instead from how Holmes and Watson will unravel the criminal plot in time.  It also tends to meander at times, but mostly succeeds in being an entertaining, light-hearted, adventure romp, which will doubtless please fans of the original. 

Robert Downey, Jr., Noomi Rapace and Jude Law in Sherlock Holmes:  A Game of Shadows                

1 comment:

  1. Nice review of the movie. Downey Jr makes a very interesting Sherlock Holmes.

    I liked the first movie. I need to check this one out.