Trust filmmaker Guy Ritchie to keep reinventing himself with each outing. For someone who made a stunning announcement with "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels" (1998) more than a decade back, he continues to have his stamp firmly planted over his films.
Other than Quentin Tarantino, Guy Ritchie is the only contemporary filmmaker who has a strong presence despite a limited body of work.
This is why one watches "Sherlock Holmes" keenly. Presenting an iconic character on celluloid is always a risky preposition. How does a director bring in a new dimension to characters that are so well known?
What Ritchie does is change the very surroundings of his lead protagonist Sherlock Holmes, played to perfection by Robert Downey Jr. He brings in black magic, sorcery and the conflict of believers v/s non-believers while aiming to bring scientific explanations to every mishap and misadventure.
An evil force Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong) wishes to rule the world and he begins his endeavour from London. His one point agenda is to instil fear in the citizens of the world and for that, his weaponry is black magic.
Aided by his friend Doctor Watson (Jude Law), Sherlock Holmes gets Blackwood captured and the villain dies...only to return from the dead. From there begins an adventure where Holmes picks up clues, sees murders happening all around him, keeps his sanity intact and finally brings on a big expose that challenges the very essence of black magic.
As Holmes starts putting together the jigsaw puzzle, the narrative starts becoming far more engaging. An action sequence set on a ship and later atop a bridge is indeed thrilling while the background music is equally effective.
Cinematography, mainly in sepia shades, brings back London from a century ago. Also, despite black magic playing a major role in the narrative, it never turns gory or offensive. Instead, these are the points where dialogues, in characteristic Guy Ritchie style, are funny and help relieve the tense moments.
While the filmmaker reinvents himself with "Sherlock Holmes", one misses his trademark shot-taking and background narrative along with character introduction, something that he has done so brilliantly in his earlier ventures.
Also, the film is verbose for most of its duration which means that for the lovers of non-stop and thrilling action, there isn`t much in the offing.
Yes, the film carries its own wit but given the fact that this is understated British humour, one has to adapt to it. It does take time to adjust to the mood of "Sherlock Holmes".
Since the film is set in London of 1891, the sepia shades, dingy by-lanes, under construction buildings, horse driven carriages, the overall black costumes and heavily accented dialogue delivery take a viewer into a different world altogether.
In a dynamic new portrayal of Arthur Conan Doyle’s most famous characters, “Sherlock Holmes” sends Holmes and his stalwart partner Watson on their latest challenge. Revealing fighting skills as lethal as his legendary intellect, Holmes will battle as never before to bring down a new nemesis and unravel a deadly plot that could destroy the country.
The action-adventure mystery “Sherlock Holmes” is helmed by acclaimed filmmaker Guy Ritchie, for Warner Bros. Pictures and Village Roadshow Pictures. Robert Downey Jr. brings the legendary detective to life, and Jude Law stars as Holmes’ trusted colleague, Watson, a doctor and war veteran who is a formidable ally for Sherlock Holmes. Rachel McAdams stars as Irene Adler, the only woman ever to have bested Holmes and who has maintained a tempestuous relationship with the detective. Mark Strong stars as their mysterious new adversary, Blackwood. Kelly Reilly plays Watson’s love interest, Mary.
Warner Bros. Pictures presents, in association with Village Roadshow Pictures, a Silver Pictures Production, in association with Wigram Productions, a Guy Ritchie Film, “Sherlock Holmes.” With a screenplay by Michael Robert Johnson and Anthony Peckham and Simon Kinberg, screen story by Lionel Wigram and Michael Robert Johnson, the film is produced by Joel Silver, Lionel Wigram, Susan Downey and Dan Lin. Michael Tadross and Bruce Berman serve as executive producers. “Sherlock Holmes” will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company, and in select territories by Village Roadshow Pictures.