Sunday, December 27, 2009
Just stepping outside the actual movie-going experience for a second, it often astounds me the way certain people's fortunes rise and fall in Hollywood... people you never think will manage to claw their way back from total career meltdown somehow find their way back to the top of the heap.
I'm speaking, of course, of Robert Downey Jr... total meltdown, then he started reappearing, and his star just kinda took off... Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Iron Man... and the latest in that vein was today's movie, Sherlock Holmes.
I did have something of an epiphany shortly after the movie started though... essentially, this version of Holmes is Dr Gregory House, but somewhat nicer, and without the limp. Which in turn makes Jude Law's Dr Watson a version of Wilson...
This isn't a criticism... since I'm very fond of House... just an observation, and I can't help wondering if any of the parallels were conscious on the part of either the writers or the actors, or if it's just one of those things.
It is a very different Sherlock Holmes though... in fact I think he's only called Sherlock once in the whole movie... and while the pipe and the violin are very much in evidence, the silly hat and upper crust sensibility is not. And I'm pretty sure he never uses the phrase "Elementary my dear Watson". In fact this version seems to be much closer to some of the descriptions in the books (if Wikipedia is to be believed).
But he's a likeable rogue... Downey plays him with a certain degree of melancholy and that sense of incredible brains lurking behind the rather scruffy façade. In fact it's spelled out very early on as he slowly walks through the way to incapacitate somebody in his head before then committing the act at breakneck speed. He plans, he schemes, he has things worked out four and five steps in advance all the way along.
He and Watson are also just a little bit gay... or perhaps they're just two English gentlemen from a certain time period who have spent entirely too much time together... they do squabble like an old married couple though.
Law definitely holds his own against Downey... even though he has to play it very straight-laced (even down to their outfits) and with much less scope for letting the character run away with itself, but he's never outclassed as an actor.
Rachel McAdams also manages well, although her character really isn't given that much to do. The same goes for the villain of the piece, Mark Strong... his whole plot line is somewhat far-fetched... and he's essentially a bit of a MacGuffin just to get the story rolling along and let Holmes do his thing.
That's not to say that it's not enjoyable and you don't get taken along for the ride... you definitely do... and it's a ride I'm glad I took.
yani's rating: 8 ginger midgets out of 10