Filmspiration: Who are you, Sherlock Holmes?

Categories Articles, Filmspiration

Welcome to our second installment of the new filmspiration series. This time Iulia David – our new performing arts & film guest writer – reviews Sherlock Holmes, the latest movie directed by Guy Ritchie. Enjoy and share your opinions in the comments.

Trailer

Review

The final scenes of this unlucky-unhappy-yet-entertaining meeting between Sherlock Holmes & Guy Ritchie clearly suggests there will be a sequel.

Yeah, there’s always a sequel – especially when you have one of those cool clear-minded, good-looking queer birds whose charm is so confusing that you have to clear it up in the second part. But lets’ hope Mr. Ritchie will take a break from this one!

Not just that Guy Ritchie is still very proud of his cinematic trickery, but he diminishes a great talent, who was very close to perform a splendid character, to an eccentric, almost cartoonish appearance – if still Holmes is not a caricature that’s because Downey has one of those very good artistic instincts and knows exactly how to handle the stuff. Plus: to make an action hero out of a reflective celebrity – that’s totally a miscalculation.

Our Holmes solves murder mysteries and fights stubbornly; he uses his exceptional intuition to be intense as a detective but also to draw up elaborate techniques for his physical encounters with a weird, bad, ugly giant. We know him as a genius, although an arrogant (loyal only to his friendship with Watson) who uses drugs, but still, he lives in our collective subconscious as the mind genius – why would anyone want him to fight like a bull? Wouldn’t his intellectual climaxes be exciting enough for our punch-addicted world?

The film speculates on this visual show led by Holmes and his girl (I mean, look at those CG clouds in the final battle scene on that CG Tower Bridge!) and doesn’t insist much on the construction of a truly interesting personality as Sherlock Holmes. When Conan Doyle created the character, at the end of the 19th century, Holmes was the Detective – the model of the triumphant reason and the infallible logic. All those values were promoted by the Enlightenment thinkers and found the fulfillment, among other means of entertainment, in the detective fiction. Within system, Sherlock Holmes was thus charged to re-establish the social order. He was sophisticated and eccentric because the Victorian era attached much value to strong individuals, not to conformity.

Verdict

Nowadays, Sherlock Holmes is a superficially updated copy created according to the commercial laws of success. Yup, we do need super-action-heroes, but not at any price.

Bonus

You should definitely read the new Art of the Title interview with Danny Yount of Prologue Films, the studio behind the (much more relevant) main titles of the movie.

Iulia divides her time between writing about film & performing arts and teaching theatre studies. When she's not traveling or taking notes at some festival, she loves to share her cultural passementeries on inspiring magazines.
  • I just loved this movie and felt the same way, SO inspiring. I loved that time period and felt like that was where I belonged. Thanks.

  • I think you’re dismissing the film too much. I’m not sure about the actual story but the characters were very true to those in the original Sherlock Holmes books. Holmes was reluctant to fight or be violent unless he had to and Watson was an ex-Afghani special forces (whatever it was back then) soldier who was more “into” violence.

  • I agree. Whilst there was more action in the movie than what one would see in the original novels, I find that the movie was a good use of it’s medium. The books seemed to have a larger focus on the strange quirks of Holmes and his affinity for solving mysteries because the descriptions of the action sequences were rather felt boring in a book medium.
    For a movie though, I felt it had the advantage of being able to show the action scenes in their full glory. While I did feel Holmes’ personality could have been fleshed out more, I believe the only reason his character’s presence was not up to par is because there is only so much time to do so much. A sequel will likely solve that issue.

  • Well, watched the movie. Neighter liked nor disliked. Enjoyed the new version of Holmes. Do think this character in Guy’s interpretetion has a big potential. Of course the movie has nothing to do with the books. If you want to get the spirit of Doyle’s books, then watch a Soviet movie series. That’s the best Holmes ever.
    Yet, one more time I would say I like a fresh Holmes. Robert Dauni did a great job. And yes, the titles design deserves a separate WOW and Thanks. Loved them.

  • Interesting review, thank You. Actually I suggest going further on the transformation from the literature character of the XIX century to the movie hero of the XXI century. I revealed this point in my review…

  • After watching the first one, I would say I wouldn’t watch the sequel because I was unimpressed, but I will anyways, because everyone deserves a second chance, so why not a movie.

  • @Darling, you make a great point, however with so many movies to be seen you have to choose carefully before you waste your time.