Sherlock Holmes (2009) Review

26 Jun

I mentioned in my favorite actions movies post that I loved Sherlock Holmes, so I decided that it was high time to review it. No important spoilers will be mentioned!

This movie may not have been the most authentic and classic take on Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, but it is by far the most witty and enjoyable interpretation I’ve ever seen. It was perfectly cast and an absolute riot to watch the first, second, and twelfth times.

It would’ve been nearly impossible to select an actor more suited to the role of Holmes than Robert Downey, Jr. His naturally sardonic wit shines through every character he plays, and Holmes is no exception. Jude Law is fantastic as Holmes’ flatmate and conscience Dr. John Watson, perfectly balancing Holmes’ eccentric methodology with calm reason.

The villain of the piece is Lord Blackwood, a once-respected man convicted of practicing black magic and sentenced to death by hanging. After pronouncing Blackwood dead and closing the case, Watson reveals his plans to marry Mary Morstan (Kelly Reilly). The threat of “losing” his companion to married life haunts Holmes throughout the film as the pair, accompanied by bumbling Chief Inspector Lestrade, investigates several murders seemingly related to Blackwood, who is suspected of rising from the dead and continuing his occult rituals.

Holmes, to Watson: “It’s a matter of professional integrity! No girl wants to marry a doctor who can’t tell if a man’s dead or not!”

To add intrigue to the twisted plotline, Holmes is visited by an old flame, Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams). He suspects her of working for the sinister force behind a larger plot for world domination through chemical warfare. Their developing catch-me-if-you-can romance gives the film enigmatic dimension as the irresistible Adler provides Holmes with the information necessary to find the culprit while simultaneously double-crossing him.

Watson, to Holmes (about Adler): “Why is the only woman you’ve ever cared about a world class criminal? Are you a masochist?”

No Sherlock Holmes review would be complete without a mention of the film’s incredible take on action sequences. Instead of overwhelming the audience with violent, hard-to-follow fight scenes, it approaches a confrontation through the eyes of the famous detective, verbally breaking down each move to quickly and efficiently defeat an opponent, then carrying it out with breathtaking energy, precisely as designed.

The over-the-top regional dialects and obviously green-screened scenery detract slightly from the authenticity, but if you’re more concerned with the entertainment value of the film rather than its historical accuracy, you won’t be bothered. The script remains one of my favorite elements of the movie; it’s clever, extremely well delivered with plenty of quotable one-liners, and drenched in complexity that leaves your head spinning. In combination with the lively and suspenseful musical score by the talented Hans Zimmer, the grungy and somber portrayal of industrial London in the late 1800s is complete.

The plot twists, intricate characters, and intense action sequences make this film extraordinarily satisfying. Overall I’d give it a 5/5 for sheer unbridled fun. I generally dislike describing movies this way, but this left me with a stupid smile on my face and the desire to walk around town with a pipe and a walking stick.

Did you enjoy this movie as much as I did? Let me know if you’d like me to review its sequel, A Game of Shadows. Cheers!

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3 Responses to “Sherlock Holmes (2009) Review”

  1. gudbyeboredom June 27, 2013 at 1:33 am #

    Loved this movie. I agree with what you said, no one could have been better than Robert Downey Jr for this role.

    • Olivia June 27, 2013 at 8:42 am #

      I’m glad someone agrees! I’ve kind of been his biggest fan at the moment…:D

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