This Chick Does Flicks: Sherlock Holmes

Blame it on my British husband for turning me into a fan of Guy Ritchie as a director but I just love his movies! Sure, they’re violent but so is the news and if what is being done to the US Constitution by our ruling elites doesn’t qualify as excessively brutal, I don’t know what is. So, what can a maturing director, whose movies have convoluted plots and Dickensian characters, do but combine 1892 Victorian London and the greatest fictional detective of all, Sherlock Holmes? The mix works and it is magic. Sherlock Holmes is director Guy Ritchie’s masterpiece of grit, grime and gigantic characters all grinding together in an exciting mystery adventure film complete with ersatz occult magic hinting at New World Order trickery.

Sherlock Holmes is a feast for the eyes and a real workout for the educated. You’ve got clues galore, fantastic urban archeology, great costuming, your usual satanic cult, your “dead” rising from the grave, your decadent aristocrats, your gruesome deaths, bare knuckle fighting, scenes in slaughterhouses, crazy contraptions ala Jules Verne, allusions to Cecil Rhodes’ desire to reunite America to Great Britain, the disastrous and premature launching of a sailing vessel, the construction detailing of London’s Tower Bridge being turned into a rough justice gibbet and Escher moments on stairwells.

Already up for a Golden Globe Nomination, Sherlock Holmes stars Robert Downey Jr. as a bohemian Holmes tormented by his brilliance, unconcerned about social niceties and reckless of his personal safety, able to function at any and all levels of society. Jude Law is his Dr. John Watson, but a Dr. Watson, who is more of a physical equal, brave as a lion yet prey to gambling and a desire for normalcy that constantly plays second fiddle to the adrenaline rush of accompanying Holmes on his dangerous missions.

Thrown into this friendship is the disturbing Irene Adler, played by the tepid Rachel McAdams, the only woman to have ever bested Holmes in a game of wits in Sir Author Conan Doyle’s A Scandal in Bohemia. Watson finds Holmes obsession for Adler a great weakness and Holmes considers Watson’s love for his fiancée, Mary Morsten, boring. However, the tension between the two over their personal lives takes back seat to their hunt for and ultimate thwarting of the formerly executed, newly-resurrected Lord Blackwood, a black magic murderer determined to take over the world by first bringing down Parliament by poison gas.

Normally, when modern authors seek to “improve” or extend storylines on long dead authors, they fail miserably since they totally disregard the spirit of the original stories in favor of our currently crude and ahistorical culture poisoned through and through with political correctness. But the coordination of the screenplay by Michael Robert Johnson, Anthony Peckham, and Simon Kinberg with the screen story by Lionel Wigram and Michael Robert Johnson is everything Sir Author Conan Doyle could have wished and then some. In other words, Sherlock Holmes: Nazi Hunter, this ain’t.

Guy Ritchie regular Mark Strong plays Lord Blackwood with all the malevolent energy of a Victorian Dracula and Eddie Marsan plays the unenviable role of Inspector Lestrade. Kelly Reilly is the wine flinging, long suffering Mary Morsten. The only sour note I found in the character portrayals was Geraldine James ‘, Mrs. Hudson, who is alternately sneered at and insulted by Holmes. Previously, Holmes was the soul of respectful courtesy towards Mrs. Hudson but Ritchie’s movie Holmes has a familiarity-breeds-contempt nastiness in the relationship.

At the end there is the hint of a sequel with the unmasking of Irene Adler’s mystery boss, Professor Moriarity, but I would like to see Cate Blanchett cast as Irene Adler. Unlike Rachel McAdams, with Blanchett, you not only know but can see that there is intelligence behind those icy, calculating eyes.

Sherlock Holmes is a must-see movie and a great way to start off your 2010 viewing season. Parents: Whatever you do, make sure to drag your teenagers to this movie. They need to be exposed to some of the greatest characters of English literature ever invented. The movie itself is really too intense for preteens and young children but get them reading Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s original stories, which are perfect transitional reading from kiddie to young adult literature. I discovered Sherlock Holmes at age eight and the very first story I read was The Speckled Band. It not only scared the delicious bejeepers out of me but I couldn’t sleep without a night light on for weeks afterward. Then one day I realized that I didn’t know anyone, who had been to India, and could finally turn off the light for a good night’s sleep.