Monday, 30 July 2012

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

Finally got round to seeing Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows for the first time this weekend. I must admit straight away that I am a traditionalist when it comes to Holmes and prefer him played straight, as per the brilliant TV series starring Jeremy Brett. I do, however, like most of the 1930s/40s Basil Rathbone interpretations, though these do play havoc at times with both period and character, particularly poor Watson.

I also like Robert Downey Jnr as an actor.

(Spoiler Alert)

Yet, despite some moments that truly work, overwhole this film really doesn't. Perhaps it's the all too frequent bursts of frenetic action that punctuate it. These are so far over the top they are almost cartoonish. And there are so many things that are just plain daft, like Holmes' sudden passion for camouflaging himself. And why on earth did we have to have the ridiculous spectacle of Stephen Fry as Mycroft wandering around his stately home in the nude? What was that all about? I'm mystified. I honestly am.

The climax with Moriarty at the Reichenbach Falls was well done and, as Holmes forces them both over to tumble to their deaths, there was, for a moment, a genuine feeling of poignancy. A poignancy that was ended too abruptly a short time later with Holmes' reappearance, camouflaged, at the end, which was so trite, whimsical and downright silly that, for me at least, it gave a hollow ring to the entire film.

Robert Downey Jnr's interpretation of Holmes may suit some people, but I feel it's too carefree and silly and lacks any conviction. Perhaps, at the end of the day, I can only blame its director, Guy Ritchie, who seems neither to care nor have any real feeling for Doyle's character, because this is one of the worst interpretations of Holmes I have ever seen.

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