Saturday, 17 December 2011

REVIEW: Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

Dir.: Guy Ritchie
With: Robert Downey Jr, Jude Law

To be perfectly honest, I found this second instalment of the revised Sherlock Holmes story much more enjoyable than the first. It seems that the scriptwriters and the director actually listened to the critics of the first movie, dispensed with the less successful elements and concentrated on making the second film a funny, entertaining and very charming story. ‘Game of Shadows’ has all those things that I loved in the first movie in abundance – the funky Victorian London vagabonds, plenty of Robert Downey Jr madness, A LOT of homoeroticism, phallic symbolism and old-couple bickering between Sherlock and Watson. On top of that there were many wonderful and memorable one-liners like ‘Shirley no-mates’ and, most importantly, the one and only Stephen Fry played Mycroft, the insane/genius brother of Sherlock.

Of course, the actual plot is completely incoherent and unrealistic, however, this doesn’t matter at all as the film has so much spirit and action shots that simply overshadow everything else. It is unnecessarily long and there are a few moments when things get a little slow, but the movie picks up again towards the second half. I have to say that Professor Moriarty played by Jared Harris from ‘Mad Men’ was great. Charismatic, scary, psychotic and obviously brilliant, he was able to hold his own against Downey’s Holmes and rebuke his attempts at deduction. Noomi Rapace from the Swedish ‘Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ was very boring as a random gypsy, and to be honest, she generally annoys me. She just does. It’s personal.

I wonder whether the Sherlock Holmes films would have been this popular if Robert Downey Jr wasn’t involved. I think not. The actor is good-looking enough to be more than watchable but not strikingly so. His looks are indeed very likable and his personality shines through in this film. He is quick-witted and self-deprecating, completely nuts and quite inspiring. His comedy timing is perfect, both in dialogues and in slapstick. The final scene of the film is properly laugh-out-loud funny; I think I found my next Halloween costume. For those of you going to see it, two words  - urban camouflage.  

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