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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Movie Review: Sherlock Holmes - More Fists, Less Wits !

When you place an intellectual superhuman detective in the hand of Guy Ritchie what do you expect? Ofcourse, he turns into a gun rattling, Bone crunching hero. So forget about your image of Sherlock, submerge into Ritchie's version. Quirky, Aloof, Explosive, Athletic and ofcourse with extraordinary knowledge and observation powers - played by Robert Downey Jr.

The plot of the movie is preposterous. The villian who is caught by Sherlock and then hanged for practicing black magic, returns from the dead to complete his nefarious plan. And Sherlock has to question his own logical mind to drill down to a solution to this supernatural mystery. Ofcourse, Dr.Watson tags along - reluctantly to solve it and bring the wrongdoer to his super - "natural death".

I had recently read The hounds of the Baskervilles. I imagined Sherlock as this lean, frail, geeky character - Ritchie's version is a six pack, athletic Sherlock - where brawn equals brain. Nobody in this world can stand Sherlock except for dearest Dr.Watson and this relationship is at the heart of Ritchie's caper. The chemistry between Downie and Jude Law is simple spectacular. Sherlock is quiet clearly jealous of sharing Watson with anyone else, and the only person who really can stand him or put him in his place is Watson. There are no women involved with these 2 men in the classic novel, but surely the movie version has 2 women in love with the main leads, though in the movie Sherlock clearly cares for Watson more than anyone else. The original Sherlock, is also by no means a timid one, he too goes quiet willingly into seemingly impossible situations and comes out safe - because he had already deduced what would happen next. In the movie even Sherlock's fighting has a method, but this Sherlock deals more with fists than with wits and thats where the movie somehow loses its original or legendary charm.

The problem with Ritchie's film is that he goes too far off on a tangent. The movie is not intellectually challenging or mysterious, its just one hell of a rollercoaster ride. When the deduction does come, you are not really thinking how he came to the conclusion because you were never thinking of the problem. Deduction is secondary, entertainment is primary. Battle of Wits gives way to Battle of Fists. But never the less the movie is a brisk entertainer and one thing that keeps you bound to your seats is Robert Downey Jr.'s scintillating performance. Casting him was a stroke of pure genius. Robert Downey simply transforms into this self-indulgent, sniffing, deducing genius and keeps you rivetted with his performance. His bickering with Jude Law gives you probably one of the best screen chemistry's ever. Also, I simply cannot wait for the next installment where Sherlock will meet his most brilliant adversary - Prof.Moriarity , a supervillian. And talks are that Brad Pitt is gonna be Moriarity. Awesome. Hope the film is more the battle of wits we deserve.

The art design of this movie is splendid, and you are transported to old London. The dialogues are brilliantly written and the screen play is fast paced and engaging. What enhances the mood, is the awesome background score. Guy Ritchie has always been known for his style and the movie exhudes style, though in an old fashioned way :).

The theater is filled with forgettable movies except 3 idiots and Sherlock. So go ahead and watch this movie for its total Paisa vasool - though be ready for more fists and less wits !

Rating : 6.5 / 10


Pavan said...

Johny Depp, now has competition!!
Robert Downey Jr. is top class!

SJ said...

Well after watching the promos... it was quite clear that this movie is more of an action thriller kinds than the deduction n charms of THE SHERLOCK HOLMES. Even though there are very few movies as good as the books they are based on... changing the character of the person on whom the movie is based is something else altogether. I haven't really seen the movie but i guess i wouldn't be able to digest the image of Holmes having a fist fight instead of pacing up and down a room, smoking his pipe n brooding over the problem. Just like i am still not comfortable with Daniel Craig's portrayal of James Bond as the fist-fighter compared to the gadgets and suave charms of Sean Connery and Pierce Brosnan.

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