Sherlock Holmes Movie Review
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"Sherlock Holmes", directed by Guy Ritchie,takes place in 1891 London, just as the well-known Tower Bridge was being constructed. The film is extremely fast paced in both movement and dialogue-too fast at times. It may have been the dialect of the time, but in 2009, the words become hard to discern. Kudos to Robert Downey Jr for picking up such a strong dialect, but it needed to be slowed for the audience.
Downey Jr's character is well-developed, as we hear his thoughts throughout the movie, see into his home and learn about his techniques for solving mysteries. Dr. John Watson, played by Jude Law, is also well developed as Holmes' partner who has to balance life-threatening detective work, his friendship with Holmes and his relationship with his soon-to-be-fiance. Irene Adams, played by Rachel McAdams, is underdeveloped. It's apparent she and Holmes had a relationship in the past, but there is little on-screen chemistry between Downey Jr. and McAdams. Her character could have been absent from the film and it would have made little difference to the plot, save for a possible sequel.
The unsolved mystery surrounding a "black magic" practitioner, Blackwood, is the backdrop of the film, but because of the film's pace, much of the fun of a "who dunnit" is lost. There are too many moving parts between the police, Parliament, Holmes,Watson, Adler, Blackwood, a few mysterious deaths, an antagonistic professor, and the Temple of the Four Orders (who's"secret" language looks an awful lot like Hebrew).
The most positive force in the movie is the relationship between Holmes and Watson. Their dynamic relationship is well played, and their back-and-forth banter at times is laugh out loud funny. The scenery and costumes are also excellent, effectively portraying the era. Additionally, the fighting choreography is well planned and works in both slow-motion and regular scenes.
Aside from the bright points listed above, there is still much to be desired from this film. With less clutter, the film could have been a thrilling mystery. As is, the film is a muddled story about Sherlock Holmes' deductive detective techniques and sly sense of humor.
5 1/2 sandwiches out of 10
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