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Movie Review: Sherlock Holmes 2009 - Sherlock Holmes is...fun?

Movie: Sherlock Holmes 2009
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, Rachel McAdams & Mark Strong.
Director: Guy Ritchie

Before I start this review I must state something right upfront. I have never read a Sherlock Holmes novel in my entire life. My knowledge of the character is limited to made for TV movies, Masterpiece Theatre and the version used on the Holodeck from Star Trek: The Next Generation. So this movie will not be judged according to it's accuracy but rather to how entertaining I feel that it is.

Surprisingly, the movie is quite entertaining in many different ways. The writers and director have avoided all of the pitfalls that come along with remaking a classic character such as Sherlock Holmes. They neither made Sherlock too boring and stodgy for modern audiences nor did they dumb down the characters or story to appeal to the movie goers who have no idea who or what Sherlock Holmes is supposed to be.  The story revolves around Sherlock (Robert Downey Jr.) and Watson's (Jude Law) investigation of a case in which the suspect has seemingly risen from the dead. Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong) claims to have supernatural powers and promises to kill again. Things are further complicated when Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams) Sherlock's old flame who happens to be a criminal suddenly appears with a job for him.  Sherlock must stop Lord Blackwood before his plan unfolds.


Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law do a great job as Sherlock Holmes and Watson. Sherlock Holmes in this version is both a genius and at the same time socially inept. He is deathly afraid of losing his one friend Watson because he is engaged to be married and so no longer will be working with Holmes.  He begins to try manipulate the situation so that Watson will not get married. Jude Law does a good job as Watson who sees through Holme's plans but as his friend must help him anyway. The writers really have created a sort of odd couple who both really need each other. The same can be said of Sherlock Holmes and his love interest Irene Adler as played by Rachel McAdams the two have good chemistry and play off each other well. Mark Strong as Lord Blackwood is a fine enough villain although he reminds me a bit of the old vampire movies. The dialogue throughout the movie is sharp. There are many small bits to be discovered upon multiple viewings.

The mystery itself is not all that mysterious as there is only one true suspect. However this is a small complaint as there are many small mysteries throughout the movie to be solved which are done quite cleverly. There is also quite a bit of action which is surprising to see in a Sherlock Holmes film but fits with the characters and story. Everything fits with the time period and type of action you would expect to see. There aren't any high flying martial arts moves on display. They even came up with a interesting way of showing Holmes thought process while fighting. There is a little CGI in a few scenes and although not spectacular it doesn't detract from the film in any way. Most are used to recreate what London may have looked like at the time.

Though this movie may not be well received from Sherlock Holmes purist or from those looking for a truly great mystery but others will find it a truly entertaining movie from beginning to end.With great characters, action and writing you can't go wrong. You can buy Sherlock Holmes on DVD or Bluray at our online store.


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July 3, 2010 at 4:15 PM

As a person who has read every SH book, and a bunch written by others (not Sir CAD) I can say the film has nothing in it that goes against canon, except perhaps how Holmes meets Watson's fiance. But that's a small matter. I think most purist don't like it because it made it accessible to a wide audience and to them that automatically dumbs it down and makes it less exclusive, thus preventing them from thinking they're better than everyone else because they like Sherlock Holmes and no else gets it. But I personally was so happy to see something so well done - exciting but not stupid -and the characters brought to life in a way that seemed authentic.

July 3, 2010 at 4:30 PM

A lot the movie versions I've seen are just flat out boring. So I was surprised to see this one do really well. Looking forward to the next installment.

October 28, 2010 at 10:11 PM

I absolutely loved it. It was thrilling, funny, stylish, fast-paced and brilliantly acted.Guy Ritchie really outdoes himself here. The way he uses the camera, the motion, the fluidity, the snappy pacing - I loved every minute of it.

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