Set in London back before the London bridge was finished being built, we find ourselves in the midst of the world of Sherlock Holmes along with his faithful partner Watson already established as crime solvers aiding the London police. The film opens with Holmes and Watson at the end of their latest case and moving into a time between cases where their partnership is starting to dissolve in favor of Watson getting married and trying to live a normal life. Alas, they find their latest case is not quite solved and forces stronger than them pull them back together for another round.
The writing is a classic installation in the tradition of Sherlock Holmes stories, well told, clever dialog and an intriguing storyline that leaves you guessing at times with some pleasent twists and turns. Included are some of the classic Holmes characters along with some new additions that really don’t influence things a whole lot. Suffice it to say that overall it’s a good detective story that’s fun to watch.
Speaking of watching the film – the scenery is very well done as this is a period piece with some impressive CG filling in the landscape and providing an impressive backdrop set with the gritty feel of early London. The design of the clothing and gadgets of the time all blend in seemlessly while still keeping your interest with the technology of the day such as it was. Guy Ritchie and his team do a great job here. Then, there’s also Guy Ritchie’s rewind-and-move-forward style that lends itself nicely to the way Holmes likes to plot things out as he’s executing his master plan to bring the bad guy down and solve the mystery.
The acting is excellent with Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law leading the way as Holmes and Watson, both of whom seem born to play these roles. Mark Strong puts in a strong performance as the bad guy as does Rachel McAdams in the role of Holmes on-again-off-again love interest. But the banter between Holmes and Watson is one of the more entertaining aspects of the film as the dialog is cleverly written as I mentioned and very well executed.
I saw this in the theater and while it’s not necessary to do so, the visual appeal of the film is a bit more evident on the big screen so you might want to catch this one out in the theater if you can. If not, definitely check it out when it’s released on PPV or DVD.
reviewed by Sean McKnight