Monday, 21 January 2013

Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows

A couple of years ago, I reviewed Guy Ritchie's first Sherlock Holmes movie, starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law as Holmes and Watson and said how much I'd enjoyed it - contrary to my expectations, to be honest. I've now watched the 2011 follow-up, Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows, with the same two stars in the lead roles, and again I found it very entertaining, if not quite as good as its predecessor.

It may be, though, that I'd been slightly spoiled by watching Skyfall, the ultimate action thriller, a while earlier. Compared to the Bond film, which so cleverly blends plot and characterisation, any other film in the same genre is likely to seem a bit unsubtle, and that is true of this movie. Having said that, Ritchie gets his ingredients broadly right: appealing, unorthodox characters and a zippy sequence of events unfolding at a pretty relentless pace. The climax was at the Reichenbach Falls, and we all know what happened there -don't we?

The plot has an international dimension, as Holmes has identified a series of seemingly unconnected "anarchist" outrages,murders and financial shenanigans as the work of his old adversary Professor Moriarty,who is due to speak at an international conference - at Reichenbach. Sherlock gets involved with a mysterious gypsy fortune teller (Noomi Rapace) whose brother is involved with Moriarty, and the plot continues to thicken. Mycroft Holmes (in the shape of the omnipresent Stephen Fry) lends a hand as Holmes races against time to save the world from war.

All in all, it's an enjoyable romp, with our two heroes vying entertainingly with each other as well as trying to catch Moriarty. I'm all in favour of Holmesian pastiches, having written several myself (although my stories are not written with tongue in cheek in the manner of Ritchie's films.) I'm sure many Sherlockians will be unconvinced by this film, but for me it worked pretty well.

1 comment:

Patrick said...

I thought this was a film that stalled. The opening act was absolutely terrible, I thought, with exaggerated shaky-cam and then killing off the best character from the first movie just to remind us that the person in question existed.

But once it got started, I found it tremendously entertaining. Although still, that plot point at the beginning that resurfaces on the train is *terrible*! It's narrative cheating at its worst.