Friday, December 30, 2011

Sherlock Holmes : A Game of Shadows

Rating : 10/10
Release Date : 30th December, 2011
Time : 129 minutes
Director : Guy Ritchie; Writer : Michele & Kieran Mulroney (based on characters created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle); Music : Hans Zimmer
Starring : Robert Downey Jr, Jude Law, Jared Harris, Noomi Rapace, Stephen Fry, Rachel Mc Adams, Kelly Reilly

A cracking story, crackling performances, the spirit of Conan Doyle’s memorable characters, a sequel that takes off from the last film left off and takes it forward. In the immortal words of the sleuth, the game is truly afoot…

Unlike most thrillers, here we know who the villain is. We’re just not sure what he’s upto or how. How an assassination in India is linked to a bombing in Strasbourg, to a murder of a renowned doctor in London. This duel between Moriarity and Sherlock is epic, carefully constructed, full of mutual respect and admiration, encompassing several cities and very hard to describe further without giving it away. I simply loved the fact that it stayed true to the ethos, the essence of the characters created by the author and even incorporated a couple of crucial scenes from a particular story.

Mycroft Holmes also makes an appearance. A gypsy woman enthrals. A sharpshooter. A Cossack assassin. An anarchist who seems to have found his higher purpose. Another who feels trapped in a deal with the devil. Mary Watson, who’s planned honeymoon in Brighton, doesn’t quite seem to go as desired.

Most fascinating of all, is the relationship between Holmes and Watson. Giving Watson a spine, a purpose, removing him from Holmes’ shadow and breathing some life into him is perhaps the biggest masterstroke by Guy Ritchie and his merry men. Holmes continuing opposition to Watson’s impending marriage, his attempts to constantly involve him in his investigations is equalled only by Watson’s firm rejection of the former and only semi-reluctant acceptance of the latter. Even Moriarity is not quite sure of what to make of Watson.

Their repartee lights up an otherwise dark film, played out in the shadows (as the title suggests) or at night. Jokes fly thick and fast, whether verbal or written. ‘Come if convenient. If inconvenient, come all the same’ or ‘how many times are you going to kill Gladstone ?’ or the masterpiece ‘Did you just kill my wife ?’; ‘I timed it perfectly’.

Cinematically, the film is a visual delight ! Simple sequences are given an interesting camera perspective. A chase sequence through the woods is slowed down to enhance the thrill. Sparks, the workings of inner mechanisms, the clinking of wheels, gears meshing are all used to accentuate an action and create an optical thrill of something otherwise routine. Tight editing ensures your interest doesn’t flag for even a second. The soundtrack runs through your head hours after you’ve left the hall. And the device used in the previous film, of Holmes forseeing the entire sequence of events before their execution, is used a few times in this film to spectacular effect, yet with enough twists (‘breakfast is served’) to not let it get it repetitive.

Guy Ritchie, I have loved each one of your three previous films (the first one having spawned a thousand imitations) but this one, more than any other. And the last second of this film, the last action, the mere addition of an interjection, says / explains why.

There is a freshness about characters that I have known since childhood. A reinterpretation without taking away their endearing qualities. A modernisation without taking away the period. An idea that is executed in the best way possible, with a cast that is picture perfect. The standing ovation by the audience in the show we attended said it all…


Vikas said...

Exact same result, just saw it this morning..

how does Guy Ritchie do this everytime?

and first time a sequel is better than the first part :)

Madaan said...

I loved the movie, I'm a big fan of the director and the lead actor, not to mention the character.
The movie was great but a 10/10 seems a bit generous.
Haven't read any other review on this blog with this big a score.

Ravi Abhyankar said...

"I simply loved the fact that it stayed true to the ethos, the essence of the characters created by the author." Holmes kissing Irene Adler on lips? Homosexual undercurrents (or overcurrents)? Mycroft Holmes nude in front of a lady? Holmes playing karate, taikwando, matrix? Holmes throwing Watson's wife from a train? Holmes and Moriarty playing a blindfold chess game with absurd notation? (sloppy director who didn't even bother to consult a club chess player.)

I was in tears to see this blasphemy, this assassination of sir Doyle, not to talk of a film with no plot and no story. I could have walked away at any point (and would have been happier).

I agree with Geetika. People need to read Sherlock Holmes and see Jeremy Brett to understand how bad and unethical this whole business is.

buddy2blogger said...

Nice review of the movie. Downey Jr makes a very interesting Sherlock Holmes.

I liked the first movie. I need to check this one out.